There has long been a prevalent viewpoint that a divorce in which the divorcing couple did not experience great conflict - also known as a 'good divorce' - is better for any children of the marriage than a contentious, contested split, or a 'bad divorce.' However, a closer look reveals that there is little evidence to support this idea.
It is not too difficult to understand why this viewpoint has persisted despite the fact that it is largely unsupported by research. One of the most common worries among parents is that their contested divorce is going to negatively affect their children, and that their actions will scar their kids for life. Therefore, many grasp on to the notion of a 'good divorce' as a way to feel better about their split and the effect it is having on their children.
However, new research shows that a 'good divorce' will not necessarily protect children from the negative consequences of a split. In fact, a 'bad divorce' may actually be better for the kids - especially girls - in the long run. Specifically, researchers found, the daughters of bad divorces are more likely to have a "good quality, lasting first marriage" than daughters of good divorces. Researchers believe that this is because the children of bad divorces blame their parents for their conflict instead of blaming the institution of marriage itself, and therefore emerge from the split less jaded.
Therefore, parents should not assume that their children will not suffer any adverse effects as a result of their divorce simply because it was amicable. As with any major life event, children should be guided and supported through divorce, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it.
Source: The Daily Beast, "Nasty Divorces' Silver Lining?" Beverly Willett, May 19, 2012
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