Divorce is very tough on children — a fact that has been well documented over many decades. Divorce has been associated with academic difficulties, disruptive and illegal behavior, low self-esteem, depression, and emotional distress. When children of divorce enter adulthood, they are more likely to live in poverty, have children out of wedlock, marry at a young age, and get divorce themselves than their peers from non-divorced families.
Because a parent’s strongest instinct is to protect their children from all of this, some spouses decide to either make the marriage work for the sake of the children, or they agree to get divorced, but only after the youngest child is on his or her way to college and out of the house. While both of these options seem like the right thing to do for your children because the family is kept in-tact, the truth is that both of these approaches may be more harmful than a simple divorce and shared custody.
How Delaying the Divorce Can Harm Your Children
Children are much more in-tuned with their parent’s emotions and thoughts than we give them credit for. Even very young children, or teenagers who are seemingly off in their own worlds, pick up on subtle insults and tension between their parents. The fact that you want to get divorced means that you are unhappy with the marriage, and that unhappiness will only intensify in the years to come as you wait for your youngest child to graduate high school. Parents may think they are helping their children by soldiering on during the marriage, but they are only doing themselves and their children a disservice. After all, one cannot fake happiness no matter how much effort is put into the facade....