**This blog post was written by a student and only slightly edited by our writing crew.**
As I am preparing for a wedding later today, I can’t help but think back on all the pleasant weddings I’ve been to, and whether or not those marriages lasted or ended in divorce. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that the divorce rate for the United States is between 40% to 50%. With that statistic, I’m certain everyone knows someone who has gone through a divorce. It’s a process that can be long and such a burden, especially financially. But for couples with children, the divorce might cause more of a toll than people think.
Right off the bat, it’s important to know that divorce isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Couples who force their relationship to work are often unhappy and stressed. In fact, many first-hand accounts from children of divorced parents report that they think their parents are happier after splitting. Some of these accounts can be found in this HuffPost article. But it’s when parents begin to use their children to try to “best” their ex-spouse that things can get disastrous.
From personal experience, I have seen way too many families in turmoil over divorce settlements that can take years to reach. One parent will fabricate stories and try to use the children to get more money, and the other parent fires back in some way. But what many divorcing parents don’t realize is how bad mouthing the other parent can cause serious strains for the child. When children constantly hear that half of who they are is [insert various insults here], it is degrading on their personal identity and self-esteem. Eventually the children usually side with one parent, experiencing parental alienation with the other.
Yet I’ve seen some of my friends whose parents have gone through healthy divorces, and it seems so much better than the other separations. Not only are the kids happier, but the whole family unit stays intact, even though it has changed. There’s no question about which type of divorce is healthier for the children, but it is healthier for the parents as well.
If you are looking for advice on topics dealing with divorce, the APA website has advice on many topics from having a healthy split to stepfamilies. Not all marriages are going to work, and that’s okay. But children already experience enough grief from divorce, and shouldn’t have to deal with extra stress and hardships when they can be avoided.
Smart Girl Note: If you’d like to keep reading about Divorce from teens’ perspectives, please check out another guest post of ours by Maddi Clark: “Divorce: It’s Not Your Fault.” If you’d like to check out other articles for parents, please check out this page on our site: https://www.smartgirlsociety.org/blog/category/parents-and-educators.
Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire smart & confident girls, women, & families. Through educational workshops, civil outreach programs, and technology & social media research, we work with girls, parents, & educators to authenticity on social media and in real life. We educate how to remain safe on social media and how to avoid becoming a target of sextortion. We also inspire action for students to focus on their personal brand development, leadership, educational opportunities, and healthy social skills.
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