Depending on the age of your son or daughter, he or she may have strong personal opinions about which parent to live with after a divorce. As a parent, though, just how much attention and consideration should you give to your child’s personal preferences?
Many authorities on divorce and how children fare afterward argue that there are notable benefits in giving your child a say as to where he or she lives after a split.
Arguments in favor of letting kids decide
Upon learning of your divorce, your child may feel as if he or she is losing control. By giving children a voice when it comes to where to reside, post-divorce, you are letting them know that their opinions are still valid and important to you.
Ultimately, it was you, your former partner or the two of you together who decided to end the marriage — not your child. Therefore, you and the child’s other parent should both do your parts to reduce your child’s potential distress in the aftermath as much as possible.
When your child chooses the other parent
If your child ultimately prefers to spend the majority of his or her time living in the other parent’s home, you may understandably feel hurt and rejected. Try to conceal these feelings as much as possible, though, and do your part to ensure that you and your son or daughter still spend meaningful time with one another.
Even if you are not fully on board with the decision your child makes, know that you may be doing what is most advantageous for your family in the long run. By allowing your child the freedom to make his or her own decisions, you just may strengthen the relationship that exists between you.
Contrary to popular belief, divorce on its own does not always cause irreparable harm to children. Instead, it is other factors, such as continued fighting among parents, that may do so. Giving your child a say in where to live may help prevent this type of conflict.