Children are generally not mature enough to decide the main things in a divorce, such as with whom they live. However, asking them what they want and granting them some of those wishes can help make it easier for them.
If you ask most small children what they want, their initial reply will be for you and your spouse to stay together. Make the time to explain why that is not possible, and they will eventually understand.
Asking your child’s opinion helps them feel in control
One of the primary reasons kids find divorce so hard is they feel they are losing control. Divorce can involve several significant changes in which they have little or no say. For instance, they might like their bedroom or their friends in the street, but you may be unable to stay where you are for financial reasons. So in one fell swoop, you have cut their private space and their close friends from their life.
As a family, you will have developed certain routines, some of which you kids enjoy, some they do not. For instance, you may always have popcorn and a movie on Thursday nights. Or always visit granny on Sunday. Now is a great time to consult your kids and see which of those routines you should build into your new life and which they would rather discard.
The older your kids get, the more control of their life they need. There is no harm in asking teenagers if they have a preference for how you share custody. They will have different priorities, which you might not have thought about. For instance, they may prefer weekends at your place because you live in town, so they can go out to concerts and walk home. Or if the other parent moves to the country, they might want weekends there because they enjoy fishing or hunting.
Kids have minds of their own, and if you do not ask them, you cannot know what they are thinking. Giving them some say in things can help them create a life they enjoy and avoid feeling your divorce has taken life out of their hands.