Out of the mouths of babes: children give advice on divorce

Out of the mouths of babes: children give advice on divorce

A poll published by Resolution reinforces the idea that parents should not ‘stay together for the kids.’
I asked my youngest yesterday what he thought – would it be better if I and his dad still lived together.  Aged 14, his answer came swift and clear. “God, no!”

divorce and children, divorce statistics, divorce mediation

 

“out of the mouths of babes”

According to a survey just published by Resolution, most young people who have experienced divorce do not believe parents should stay together for the sake of the children.
 
 
The poll found that 82% of those aged 14 to 22 who have endured family breakups would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy. They said it was ultimately better that their parents had divorced, with one of those surveyed adding that children “will often realise, later on, that it was for the best”.
Children are so much more sensible than us adults.  They are pragmatic, and don’t mess up their decision making with ideas based on vague moral principles (such as: divorce is ‘bad’) and they are more courageous about facing difficult situations.  Perhaps they sense that many parents who stay in married misery, claiming it’s ‘better for the kids’ – are in fact just terrified of getting a divorce with all the practical, financial and emotional upheaval that comes with it.  In addition, the confusion of not knowing where to get independent initial guidance makes the stress levels higher for those parents looking to split, and that is obviously going to impact on their children.
 
The survey, released before the latest annual divorce figures from the Office of National Statistics, show that children want greater involvement in decisions made during the divorce process. More than 60% of those polled felt their parents had not ensured they were part of the decision-making process in their separation or divorce.
I have spoken to mediators who would love the parents to bring the children into those sessions that were relevant to them – age appropriately of course – but they tell me that the parents just don’t want that.  The parents just can’t deal with it.
Is that guilt getting in the way of doing what is better for the kids – to keep them involved in at least having their views heard in a safe and supported environment?  Family meetings with the help of parenting coaches or counsellors are another way to ensure that the child’s views are ‘heard’.
It’s good to be reminded about what can happen when children have to put up with hostile parents, whether together – or apart.  In this short video, Psychotherapist Caron Barruw relates from her own experiences of working with children, how the children express to her their suffering.
 

 
What really struck home for me from the survey was a comment by one of the children, that is so clearly good advice for all those adults out their who  no longer feel joy at being together in a partnership:
Asked what advice they would give divorcing parents, one child said: “Don’t stay together for a child’s sake, better to divorce than stay together for another few years and divorce on bad terms.
Now there’s some good advice, out of the mouths of babes.
 
 
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suzyMiller

Creator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
Member since:
6th March 2022
Last Login:
1st December 2023

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