By Bradford Publishing Co.
If you have children and you’re considering divorce, you’ll be especially concerned that they thrive as you move on from your marriage. You’ll also need to develop a parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex. As you write the plan, consider these commonly held cultural misunderstandings, and the realities they cover up.
Myth: Divorce always hurts children.
Reality: The truth, shown by extensive research, is that divorce does not necessarily hurt children. What does hurt them is ongoing hostilities between their parents and loss of contact with one of the parents, regardless of whether there is divorce.
Myth: Children, especially very young ones, must be with their mothers.
Reality: This stereotyping is not borne out by the facts. Children need to be wanted. Research shows that single parents of both sexes struggle with the same problems, and young children fare equally well with parents of either gender.
Myth: Children need one home. They can’t handle the constant back-and-forth of shared parenting time, young children especially.
Reality: The facts indicate otherwise. Long-term research shows that young children desperately want loving relationships with two parents, not just one. Be careful of a parenting time arrangement that views parenting time with the one parent as a disruption of the household.
Myth: When children reach a certain age, they get to choose which parent to live with.
Reality: There is no age at which the law in Colorado shifts this decision to the child.
Myth: Kids can’t make it if they go back and forth between very different parents.
Reality: Studies show that children can make these transitions with support and preparation from both parents for every transition. Some experts say that for two households to work well together, they shouldn’t be too terribly far apart in value systems. For example, if one parent lives a “laid back” lifestyle and the other one uses linen napkins, the child may wonder whether to be like Mom or Dad. But most children can navigate even lifestyle differences as long as neither parent criticizes the other.
For more information about the steps involved in divorce or legal separation, check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado” by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD www.friendlydivorce.com