Worries About Your Kids Keeping You in a
By Susie and Otto Collins
Vanessa doesn't know how she can stand another
day of being married to Alec. They bicker and
argue constantly and Vanessa suspects that
he might even be having an affair.
The worst part is, there seems to be no love
left between them.
Vanessa would file for divorce this very
minute... except for the fact that she doesn't
want to scar their 4 kids for life.
She grew up with divorced parents and having to
shuttle back and forth between homes-- that's
the last thing that Vanessa wants her children
to go through.
Her original plan was to stick it out until all
of her kids are older, but she's not sure she
can wait that long.
Are you considering divorce but are worried
about how your children will handle such a
Like Vanessa, you might feel certain that
leaving your relationship is the best decision.
Even knowing this, you may be hesitant to make
such a move because you don't want your kids to
have to go through the pain and upheaval.
Make the best decision for all involved--
We aren't going to pretend that divorce is easy
It's likely that, depending
on your situation and the age and maturity of
the kids, there will be a certain amount of
confusion, grief, anger and insecurity come up.
It's only natural that, as a parent, you would
want to shield your children from all of this.
But if you and your partner are unhappy, tense,
resentful or angry with one another, your kids
will undoubtedly pick up on it.
Studies have shown that living in a
dysfunctional married environment is just as
difficult and damaging to kids as it is for them
to go through their parents' divorce.
Some of those same studies have shown that it is
actually after the divorce that the troubles can
begin for children.
It is when kids are put in
roles such as negotiators for their sniping
comfort-providers for their newly-single mothers
or fathers, that the real damage can occur.
If you are considering leaving your marriage,
become very clear about what you want. We
encourage you to, for the moment, set aside
your worries about your kids and listen to
Next, we encourage you to follow through on your
decision with a solid plan for how you can ease
this transition for your kids as well as for
yourself. Be sure to think ahead, if you can, to
after your divorce has been finalized.
*If you or your children are being abused, we
urge you to get away from your mate and to a
place where you and your children can be safe.
From that safe space, you can decide what your
next step will be and how to help your children
heal from what has happened.
Create a support system for yourself and one
for your kids.
Support is vital right now. In order to truly
"be there" for your kids through the divorce
process and afterward, you'll need a reliable
Gather a support system for yourself. This might
involve making a list of friends and family
members whom you can call or meet with when you
just need to vent frustration, you'd like advice
or a big hug.
Support for yourself may also mean that you
arrange to meet with a trained counselor.
Your kids could use a support system right now
too. As a parent, you might feel like it's your
job to be the main source of comfort and
guidance for your kids.
In reality, this might be what happens and it
During this time, however, it can really make a
difference if your children have access to other
people upon whom they can rely.
This might be a trusted neighbor, friend or
family member that your children can go to with
questions or to share feelings.
You could also find a counselor or therapist who
is trained to help kids work through their
feelings about divorce.
There will be plenty of times when you are the
one who is giving the hugs and assurances to
But there will also be times when you are caught
up in your own process and can't be as available
to them as you'd like to be.
Having a support system for both you and your
children will give you all a sense of not being
alone as step out into this new life.
Remember, this difficult time will not last
forever. Do your best for yourself and your
children and know that better times are possible
and potentially coming soon.
If you would like more help making the decision
about whether or not to leave your marriage,
you'll find many more questions, insights and
personal stories in our book
Should You Go?
You can also sign up for our free mini-course
"5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Considering
Whether to Stay In or Leave a Relationship."