Home > Mom's Life > Marriage and Divorce > Dealing With Divorce > How Divorce Affects Children > My Daughter Thinks Her Dad and I Should Divorce

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

My Daughter Thinks Her Dad and I Should Divorce

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Do you think a 12 year old can really see that a divorce would be the best thing? My daughter said out of the clear blue sky "Mom are you and dad getting a divorce? I would not be to hurt because I think you both would be much happier".

Our marriage has been over for a long while...we were only here for her..

A: Kids observe much more than we give them credit for, even when we think we're keeping a lid on our marital problems. A 12 year old can certainly come to the very well thought out conclusion that you, your husband and she would be better off if you got divorced. Her suggesting that you and her dad would be "much happier" if you divorced is her attempt to tell you that she'll be OK if you do divorce and that she doesn't want you to stay together because of her. My guess is that she doesn't want to continue to live with parents who are hopelessly locked in a loveless, damaging marriage.

Please use her comments as an opening to talk to her about her thoughts and feelings regarding her family life. Ask her open-ended questions ("What are you worried about the most when it comes to our family?) and do a lot more listening than talking. She deserves the best chance at a happier home life and so do the both of you. Isn't it time you sought professional therapy to address what's best for all of you? Maybe you needed these brave, thoughtful words of your daughter to do what's been needed for some time.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks