Debunking the Myths of Divorce.

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Divorce Does Not Always Mean Destruction of the
Family.

I have been divorced for nearly nine years. While it was a difficult decision to end my marriage, I knew it was the right one for me. Did I stress over it? Yes. Did I go back and forth? Yes. Did I worry about the impact to my kids? Yes.

I’m lucky. My children’s father is involved in their lives and speaks to them on a daily basis. He attends their basketball games and school events and helps out when possible when I need to attend a meeting or other event. In many respects, we get along better now than when we were married.

It may be that we’re older and wiser and that’s why we get along. It may be that we get along because we’re not married! Or it may be that neither of us has ever bad-mouthed or spoken poorly of each other in front of our children. This is not to say we may have never wanted to, but we’ve held our tongues for the most part.

I get along well with my former in-laws as well and continue to celebrate some holidays and events for the children together. Why? Because whether or not I am still married to my children’s father, his family is my children’s family. They are part of their history, genealogy, and identity.

During the divorce process, we were required to attend a class about what divorce would mean for our children. I watched a movie in which several children were devastated, crying, and wondering if they were the cause of their parent’s divorcing. It broke my heart. I wondered for several weeks after seeing this movie if my decision was
going to result in this kind of pain for my kids.

Again. I’m lucky. My children were very young when I divorced so their memories of their father living with them are few. Being so young, they couldn’t possibly fathom that they could be the reason for anything bad happening. In many respects, this was a blessing.

As they got older though, I do remember them asking me if it was their fault. When I asked them what they thought, both my son and daughter replied with a solid, ‘No’. I confirmed their answer, of course. While innately I think they both knew it was not their fault, it was likely reassuring for them to hear it from me and/or their father. I tell them constantly that they are the best thing that ever happened to me and if it weren’t for their father, I wouldn’t be their mom. And while I may not agree with their dad on things, we will always be connected because of our children.

There’s a lot in the news these days about the “hazards” of single parenting. So much so that there’s potential (ridiculous!) legislation saying that single parenting can be viewed as a form of child abuse! This is ludicrous! I’ve seen traditional families with two
parents cause more harm than the multitudes of single or divorced parents who are consciously and lovingly raising their children. I’ve watched as families force themselves to stay together “for the kids” only to lead lives of quiet desperation and resentment, which their children see on a daily basis.

I recently read an interesting article that addressed some of the myths of children of divorced parents. The research debunks several of the long-standing beliefs surrounding divorce and the impact it has on children. And while one cannot make generalities saying that ALL children of divorced families are fine, it appears that it’s not as bad as has been reported.

The bottom line is this. When parents are happy, the children are happy. Interestingly this was something that our priest told us when my children’s father and I got married. “If you want your kids to be happy, then you be happy.” Well, we weren’t happy and I
did not want to be one of those parents who stayed together “for the kids” as I’d seen what harmful outcomes that decision had on many children and friends I know.

I’ll say it again. I’m lucky. My children are happy and healthy. They do not feel badly about themselves because their parents are divorced. They do not blame themselves for being its cause. They know they have two parents who love them and when all is said and done, that’s all that matters.

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