Drew Barrymore may have admitted to feeling like a failure after her split with husband Will Kopelman, but if the couple’s separation proves anything, it’s that divorce doesn’t have to tear your family apart — in fact, the dreaded D-word can be better for your kids than staying together.
It sounds like Barrymore’s daughters Frankie and Olive are doing just fine following her separation with their dad: “They’re so awesome,” she told People when asked how the kids were handling the split. Barrymore talked about her close bond with her 3-year-old daughter Olive, saying that the two “like to lie in bed and talk,” and she also spoke happily about the Mother’s Day she and the girls enjoyed following her separation.
The couple’s split has attracted widespread media attention, likely because it’s not the typical dysfunctional divorce tale people expect to read in celebrity gossip magazines. Despite the fact that it’s 2016 and a whopping 40 percent of couples with kids get divorced, divorce still gets a really bad rap, tempting many to stay in marriages “for the kids.” People often incorrectly assume that divorce will do irrevocable damage to children’s psyches. Yet, provided parents handle their divorce properly, it’s better to separate than to endure an unhappy marriage.
One reason Barrymore’s girls may be handling the separation well is that the actress is working to keep their family together by spending time with Kopelman’s family. Barrymore and her kids spent a good chunk of the day hanging out with her in-laws’ family on Mother’s Day, and the actress shared photos of an outing to the playground with her daughter Frankie and mother-in-law Coco Kopelman. “I’m absolutely as close with them as ever,” she explained. “Because we were close, we will remain close. We’re a family forever.”
Spending time with both sides of the family is certainly the right approach to divorce when it comes to your kids’ mental health, according to the latest research. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that when divorced parents co-parented, their kids had less psychosomatic health problems, which include stress-induced issues such as difficulty sleeping, problems concentrating, appetite loss, stomachaches and headaches.
“We think that having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes,” explained study author Malin Bergström. “It may be difficult to keep up on engaged parenting if you only see your child every second weekend.”
Also, divorce really isn’t going to be the end of the world for kids when they know both their parents love them. Barrymore certainly goes out of her way to prove how devoted she is to her kids. How many moms do you know who have a tattoo of their daughters’ names on their wrist? That’s pretty hardcore! She also made an effort to make her young kids feel special by wearing a clutch with their names on it at the Godiva event this weekend.
Both Kopelman and Barrymore seem to have their priorities straight when it comes to their divorce. In a statement they made to People, the couple said, “Our children are our universe, and we look forward to living the rest of our lives with them as the first priority.”
If high-profile celebrity divorces like this teach us anything, it’s that condolences are not always the appropriate reaction to a couple’s divorce. If a couple you know is getting divorced, why not try congratulating them instead for making such a tough but important decision?