7 Reasons Why Celebrating Divorce Hurts Kids

Why Openly Celebrating Your Divorce Could Send the Wrong Message

Celebrating divorce has become trendy. From divorce parties—complete with special divorce celebration treats and party favors—to 'divorce-moons,' celebrating the end of a marriage seems to be in vogue. And certainly, it's a milestone that bears acknowledging in your personal life, particularly when it represents the opportunity to put difficult experiences behind you and start fresh. But where we used to quietly find ways to close the final chapter on a failed relationship, divorce...MORE celebrations have become big business—and quite public. Which begs the question: what about the kids? While you may have many valid reasons to celebrate your divorce personally, here are 7 reasons why throwing a divorce party sends the wrong message to your children:

  • 01 of 07

    Children naturally identify with both parents.

    Dad giving his daughter a piggyback ride
    Photo © Brand New Images/Getty Images

    They look at your ex and see part of themselves. And when you put that person down or publicly celebrate being free of them, it's hard for your kids not to internalize that message. They may even wonder if you'll eventually reject them, too. And while your kids may have these questions whether you're celebrating your divorce or not, having an actual party can intensify that struggle.

  • 02 of 07

    Your children need to be protected from the details of your divorce.

    Children don't need to know all the ugly details about why mom and dad divorced. Yet having a party to celebrate signing the final paperwork could suggest to your children that whatever took place was so dark and severe that your survival and liberation are cause for celebration—and it could also open the door for guests and friends to innocently reveal details your kids simply don't need to know.

  • 03 of 07

    Your children need uncomplicated permission to love your ex.

    Your ex is still their parent—and they have every right to a continued relationship with him or her. Yet, publicly celebrating your divorce could exasperate any animosity your kids are already carrying. It's hard enough to figure out how to love both mom and dad without offending one or the other; parents need to be careful not to make that challenge more difficult. And even though a divorce party is about giving yourself permission to move forward, it could have the effect of making your...MORE kids feeling more 'in the middle' than ever.

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  • 04 of 07

    Your children need to know that you have empathy for their pain.

    Empathy doesn't just appear in words of comfort. It also shows up in our actions. Even if you have every reason to be glad the divorce is over, you need to show your kids that you understand and respect that they may still be feeling a lot of pain, loss, and confusion over the experience.

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  • 05 of 07

    Your children need to process their feelings about the divorce privately.

    Another reason not to throw a party celebrating your divorce is because your children need space and privacy to come to grips with how they feel about all that has happened. You might be thinking that they've gotten 'over it' with the passage of time, and now that the paperwork is compete, it's no big deal. But depending on their ages, your divorce being finally 'final' could bring feelings of loss to the surface all over again for your children. 

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  • 06 of 07

    Your divorce may mean freedom to you, but a painful experience to your kids.

    Even in the worst circumstances—such as an abusive or addicted spouse—divorce is still painful for the kids. It represents a transition they never asked for, and may symbolize other changes that have been difficult, such as relocating or changing schools. Your kids need to know that you 'get' that and are sympathetic with what they're going through.

  • 07 of 07

    Kids aren't always able to articulate their feelings.

    Finally,as the adults, we need to be respectful of our kids' feelings—whether they're sharing them openly with us or not. In the case of a recent divorce, you can imagine that it might be difficult for your children. And that's enough reason right there not to celebrate the transition openly. Furthermore, any divorce is hard on kids; this is true whether your ex is the other parent or a step-parent who was in their lives for a relatively short time.