Does divorce really affect kids THAT much?

The main reason I haven’t left my husband yet is because of our 4 year old son. We don’t fight much, and if we do it’s never in front of him. I’m not going to go into why I want a divorce (I’ll get to that later) but I have some questions regarding how my son will be affected.

My husband and I have already talked about how if we do divorce, it will be a clean one. I truly want happiness for him. We said we will remain civil about everything and I believe that’s what will happen…that’s just who we are. I think we’d have joint custody and make everything equal.

But I want to know how divorce has personally affected your kids? I’ve done research on this and I always read some scary statistics about kids who’s parents divorced…but I’m wondering if those type of websites if been looking at are just very anti divorce in any situation and maybe they’re just looking at only the extreme cases. Growing up I saw some of my friends go through the divorce of their parents. They were sad about it but we’re still good kids, good students and didn’t seemed traumatized by it (from the outside at least.)

I know every situation is different though. I know life will be much harder and lonelier for me…and it will hurt have to share time with my child. But if it’s a civil divorce, how traumatizing could it be for our kid? And at 4 years old, does he even understand? How did your kids handle the divorce?

My kids were 10, 11 and 15 when I left. It was tough at first, because my ex was being an ass and not letting me see them (I think it was like 3 months). My daughter would call me and ask all the time when she was going to see me again.Now, they are 14, 15 and 19. The oldest one is going to be a sophomore in college. He graduated in the top 20% of his class at a top notch high school. My 15 year old is in the top 9% of his class and in all AP classes. My 14 year old was accepted into the college prep program at her high school. They are all doing well.At first, it was tough, but, once the ex and I quit trying to one up one another and started getting along, the tension level with the kids went WAY down. We get along well and the kids see that. My daughter even made a comment one time that, it’s like you and Daddy are friends. I think the main thing is to put the interest of the kids first and foremost (and, by that, I mean their mental well being…). If you keep in mind that he will be watching and modeling you, it will go along way towards doing the right thing and helping him turn out fine.

Presley, here’s the thing…Yes, divorce was very hard on my kiddos. They were 9, 14, and 16 when we divorced. But one of the reasons it was hard was because the marriage deteriorated over time. My husband actually got an attorney and accused me of child abuse in attempt to keep the kids away from me when my oldest was 13. So you can guess the interim three years were rocky at best.I have been divorced over three years now. My oldest will be 21. My youngest is 13. They are much better adjusted today than they were before. For my kids who are older, a big part of it was taking a step down in standard of living as well. We have not suffered by any stretch…but my son who is still in high school has worked over 20 hours a week from the day he turned 16. Like I said, it’s not detrimental by any stretch…and it has taught him that college and pizza are not free. But early on I definitely had stress from financial worries. There are many things that you and your husband can do to make the transitions easier for your son. Like Spaz said, at his age his main fear will be abandonment. He has developmentally reached the stage where he knows out of sight is no longer out of existence. Remember when you could play fool the toddler by putting the toy out of sight and he wouldn’t bother to look for it? Because it was GONE! Now he knows it is not gone, he wants it back! It will be the same with you and dad. He knows you are still there someone, and he is afraid you won’t be back. That’s what separation anxiety is from. Typically appears about age 3 or so. Along with this comes irrational fears, like fear of dogs or fear of the dark, fear of going to sleep, fear of monsters. So remember that some of this is typical. But you can minimize it by working with your husband to make transitions easier. Lots of good articles on that.

Presley,Welcome to the site, wish you didn’t have to be here, =(In answer to your question, really, it depends on the child, as each one is unique. There are instances of families with multiple children where one is perfectly fine, and the other is hit hard by the divorce and acts out on it. If your son is emotional, and doesn’t handle change well - expect him to have problems. For a four year old, it is less about the actual split of mom and dad, and more about the massive change in everything he knows - two houses going back and forth, shared time, different rules in each house…toddlers tend to be very routine oriented…and a divorce can really rock their world. Also, some don’t understand the concept that when a parent leaves (like during pick up and drop offs) they will see them again. For some, they panic and are scared they won’t see that other parent again, and although normal for that age, it is heartbreaking to see because it is hard to get them to understand. You read bad stories on the internet, well, because if everything is going smoothly and a child isn’t having issues, there is no reason to talk about it with anyone, is there? So don’t let your research skew your choice…what is BEST for a child is two happy parents, even if it means them being apart. One thing however, prior to divorce, it is really easy for people to say it will be amicable, I’ve had a lot of easy going people who’s marriages fell apart turn into totally different people (you aren’t divorcing who you married, remember that) due to differences of opinion on who gets what, money, or even minor custody issues. Kudos to the two of you if you can get through it peacefully…but keep in the back of your mind, this is a lawsuit, and by nature, it is going to have it’s contentious moments.

Yes is the short answer