This was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.
Many couples who know their marriage is over will actually put off a divorce because they believe that it is better for the children if they stay together. However, in many cases, it is the exact opposite. Divorce is rarely seen as a good thing, but it can actually provide benefits that an unhappy marriage never could, which is especially true regarding your children.
The key is to manage the conflict between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The conflict is what caused all the problems in the first place. See the divorce as an end to that drama, instead of something bad that is happening to you.
Your children will notice if things go badly, but they will also notice if things go smoothly. In the interest of minimizing any damage to the children and yourselves, talk with your spouse about how to make the divorce as conflict-free as possible.
For a little motivation, take a look at the top four positive effects that a conflict-free divorce can have on children.
1) Emotional and Physical Health Improves
Stress is the #1 cause of emotional and physical problems. If the tension is high in a home where the parents are not happy being with each other, that tension spreads through the whole family and causes a great deal of stress. It takes its toll on everybody in different but harmful ways.
Choosing to stay together for the children only increases this tension and stress. Feeling trapped makes you feel like a caged animal, and it does not give you as much of a chance to be the attentive parent you want to be.
After many families split, everybody goes through the initial shock and adjustment. At that time, a lot of children actually start to thrive without the buildup of tension that was always present before.
Once you have released yourself from the confines of an unhappy marriage, you open yourself up to the possibility for a better mate. If you diligently work to make sure the divorce is healthy for both you and the other parent, you begin to build strength and a sense of self-worth.
Your new lease on life will help you attract a better partner. Your children watch and learn from the decisions you make. They will see how ending a bad relationship and finding one that is healthier and better for you is worth it in the long run.
They will see your strength as you move on with somebody you can enjoy life with. They will benefit from a lighter feeling of living a better life with a new person. And the most valuable lessons for them involve seeing what makes a good relationship and why ending a bad one is worth it.
2) They Learn the Value of Self-Worth
If you set the divorce up in such a way that you and your co-parent work together, the children will see the value of boundaries, which are essential during a successful divorce. If you show your children that you can consistently enforce them, they will reap far more benefits than you could possibly imagine.
Your children will learn how to resolve conflicts with other people in their own lives. They will also find out that it is okay to reject a situation that they do not feel comfortable with, and they will see that sticking to boundaries positively affects everybody in the family.
Doing What Is Best for You
This point is an extension of boundaries, but it goes even further. Divorce is not an easy decision, and it causes a lot of turmoil. No matter how smooth you try to make this transition, it shows the children that making tough decisions to improve their lives is worth it.
It shows a strong amount self-esteem and a willingness to do what you have to do for a more well-adjusted life. It teaches them that it is not selfish to put themselves first in a healthy way, which involves them believing that they are worthy of happiness.
3) One-on-One Time with Each Parent
They get to know you as a person, rather than part of a couple, so they will see you as an individual. This compartmentalization helps them pull more from each parent. It can have a huge impact and actually make them more well-rounded than if you had stayed together and compromised more than you wanted to.
4) It Increases Their Ability to Adapt.
This Too Shall Pass
Your children get to see that big challenges do not result in the end of the world. They see you pick yourself up, move on, and get stronger. This example rubs off on them and increases their resiliency.
They follow your lead. If you move in a positive direction and learn from divorcing your co-parent, they will see that bad things happening can actually lead to things getting better. In fact, the best lessons they can learn is to face problems head on and see how this tactic can improve their lives.
Difficult decisions never come with easy answers. If your marriage is no longer making anybody in the family happy, it might be time to consider divorce as a possibility. If you maneuver this situation well, everybody in your family could end up better off.
As you consider your options, talk to a divorce coach and see how they can help make the transition go more smoothly for your finances and your family.