More things kids of divorce do well


more things

After the last post about “Ten things kids of divorce do well,” people responded with more things these kids do well and I’ve been asked to update the lists of things these kids do well.

Please understand these lists do not apply to all children of divorce. And not all things on the lists apply to every child. God creates all of us differently, even kids of divorce.

Have you ever heard, “children become self-fulfilled prophecies”? This means that children become what you accuse them of or what you tell them. This is never truer than for the child of divorce. You can read the research about the downsides of divorce and how it affects children.

Somewhere along the way there have been many of us who chose not to saddle our kids with these projections. I know I was one of them. Even though I was divorced and raising my kids by myself, I refused to believe the hype about what happens to kids of divorce.

I think because parents, church leaders, schoolteachers, and others have projected higher expectations onto these children, we are seeing different outcomes.

DivorceCare for Kids has been out for fourteen years now. Thousands of children have gone through this program, and I believe it is changing the outlook and the outcomes for many children. Hundreds of DC4K leaders have projected positive attributes to these kids.

After reading the article “Ten things kids of divorce do well,” one DC4K leader decided to interview adult children of divorce to see what they thought. Following is what they added to our list of things kids of divorce do well.

  • One young lady said that she knows how and when to come alongside someone at work for the benefit of a project–a skill others seem less good at.
  • One teen helper in DC4K said she feels more mature and also is way more flexible than most people; she knows because she has to be–and she is happy about both of these qualities.

From the young men in the group:

  • We have a more flexible approach to family and holiday gatherings, not uptight about when events are celebrated. We have gotten past the idea that a holiday or other family event needs to be celebrated on the magic day–examples are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our approach is very different than the spouses we married, who are still linked to the “one day” approach to holidays–all or nothing. Our understanding helps our marriage.
  • We have a wider view of what constitutes family. We have learned to be tolerant and accepting of all family configurations.
  • We became more mature than our peers because we had extra responsibilities to manage at an early age to help the family survive.
  • We understand deeply the consequences on children of divorce, and this understanding makes us work hard in our marriages.

Michael Chanley, who is the creator and executive director of CMConnect, is one of those adult children of divorce who decided to change the outcome for his life and marriage. He told me, “My parents divorced when I was a kid. They each remarried several times, so I have a lot of steps. My wife’s parents are also divorced, and each has remarried several times. It took me until our tenth-year wedding anniversary to realize my wife wasn’t going to leave me. It was then that I breathed a sigh of relief. We have now been married longer than any of our parents or stepparents.”

It is possible to have good outcomes for children of divorce. I believe we are going to be seeing more and more emotionally and spiritually healthy people move into their adult years.

Know of more things kids of divorce do well? Add it to our list in the comment section of this blog.


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on October 23, 2014.

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