Hanging In The Balance: A Post About Kids And Divorce!

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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I've never been divorced. I've only ever been married! But recently (the past year and a half to be exact), I've seen a ton of marriages collapse, some of which took our breath away (in other words- "In a million years, we didn't see that coming,"). Divorce is just tragic on all accounts. It's sad, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. It gives my wife and I a lonely feeling when we hear about a marriage falling apart. Our hearts break.

The other day I told her that I had recently discovered that a couple we knew in college had ended their 10-year marriage about 3 years ago. We stood in the room as if we had just been told that a person we were close to had passed away. Divorce is kind of like death in a sense.

When I hear about a divorce or separation, there’s one question I always ask- What about the children? Unfortunately the friends I’ve known who’ve gone through a divorce have children and that just adds fuel on an already raging fire. In 16 years of serving in ministry, I’ve been involved in hundreds of custody situations spawned from divorce and they’re never easy. When children are involved things can get messy real quick. The old adage is true- “It’s the children who suffer when a divorce happens.”

But does it really have to be this way? Do children really need to become collateral for an adult’s choice?

I say no, and here’s why-

First off, if you are allowing your children to hang in the balance of your failed marriage (meaning, you are in a tug-of-war contest with your ex-spouse or soon-to-be-ex-spouse over your children), you need to stop. I’m serious- stop it! Grow up. You’re an adult, so act like it. Stop the contest, and stop using your children against one another.

Second, and most important, while the marriage has ended and there’s no more investment in a marriage partnership, there’s still so much opportunity left to be great parents. For the sake of your children become allies with one another. If you strongly dislike each other, that’s fine, just do it in private (although I don’t recommend it). In front of your kids, however, stand side-by-side with your ex-spouse. This means upholding the rules they have at their house, at your house. Sharing the same values and truths. Parenting them the same way regardless of what you personally believe about the other parent.

The question most often not asked by divorced parents is, “What’s the win when it comes to my children?” Most of the time the question tends to be “How can I win when it comes to my children?”

When your children see you as an ally with their mother or father it turns them into healthy, balanced little people in an already unbalanced situation. Divorce is extremely devastating to children. There’s something about having a mother and father together and living in the same home that makes them healthy. When that fails or ceases to exist, it’s damaging. So why damage them more by standing at odds with your ex-spouse? Why not choose to be an ally with your enemy? Why not choose to not be enemies? Why not make the best out of a dark situation? It will make the end result (your children becoming adults) much more positive than you think. I know what some of you are thinking- “That all sounds great but my ex-wife or ex-husband doesn’t want to work with me on this. He or she doesn’t want to be my ally. What do I do then?”

Great question! To answer it, let me reference a verse of scripture found in Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)- “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (emphasis mine)

I’ve highlighted the most important part of this verse- Notice that Paul says, “as far as it depends on you.” Not your ex-spouse, not your children- YOU! As an adult, you are responsible for your own choices and behavior. It’s up to you to act like a grown-up and not stoop to a lower level for the sake of winning. I can almost guarantee that when you choose to live at peace with your ex-spouse it will impact your children in a positive way. Maybe not at first, because they’re still growing and developing, but eventually they will see the peace that lives in you clearly, and they will understand it and apply it to their own lives. And that’s one of the greatest wins as a parent isn’t it? Not that you won and your ex-spouse lost, but that your children came to know peace through the example you set!

I know the urge is to fire back when your ex-spouse does or says something hurtful. I know it’s tempting to rant about your distaste or dislike for them in front of your children but this only degrades your children’s self-worth and image of the other parent. Let me encourage you to choose peace- as far as it depends on you!

Question: Have you gone through a divorce? What insight could you provide to this post?


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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.