Q My wife and I have talked about divorce for years. Now that our kids are 13 and 14, we really do not agree on parenting and we are thinking about making the break, but we wonder if we shouldn't wait until the younger is 18 and off to college.
A Battling parents often ask us what we think about waiting 'for the kids' sake,' and we will tell you what kids have told us: Most kids, no matter their age, vote against their parents' breakup. The exception: When one parent has been subjected to violence, addiction or mental illness.
Older kids understand infidelity as a reason, but younger kids have no concept of infidelity, so discussing it with them as a reason for the breakup just confuses an already confused child.
Don't bet waiting will make it easier on your kids. Eighteen is only a number arbitrarily assigned to adulthood — many kids really struggle with the changes associated with taking the next step after graduating from high school.
Many kids have told us stories of desperation the first time they returned home from college for the holidays after Mom and Dad separated. Nothing was the same: There were two houses instead of one and they weren't sure where to stay, and sometimes relatives took sides; the child who was looking for some sense of normalcy after being away found only confusion.
And here's another red flag: If you don't agree on parenting while you live together, breaking up wouldn't change that.
It would be easier for you to parent the way you like — but it wouldn't make it easier to be your child.
So then you would have teenagers — who are a little nuts anyway just because they're teenagers — coping with their parents' breakup, while the stabilizing forces in their lives fight over curfews, respect and dress codes.
Work through it with counseling if you can. Most who have weathered the storm will tell you married partners don't love each other every second of their marriage.
Their affection, their patience, their respect have all wavered at one time or another. The question is, "Can you find it again?" You may be able to if you get some help.
Divorce is the last resort.
Jann Blackstone-Ford and her husband's ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of "Ex-Etiquette for Parents," are the founders of Bonus Families (bonusfamilies. com). Reach them at ee@bonus families.com.