Why Staying Together for the Children Is Harmful to You and Your Kids

Why Staying Together for the Children Is Harmful to You and Your KidsDivorce can be messy and expensive, and even under the most amicable of circumstances, it creates upheaval in the lives of everyone concerned. There may be contentious fights about the division of marital assets, who will keep the house, and who will get custody of the kids. Perhaps you and your spouse want to “tough it out,” thinking it will be less painful for the children if you wait until they are grown to end your marriage. But does raising your children in a household with two parents who are tired of each other make for the best atmosphere in which a child can grow up?

Children are incredibly perceptive, and most can tell that you are not in love with each other anymore. They may see it in the physical distance you stand from your spouse, or hear the muffled sounds of arguments behind closed doors. They pick up on shifts in behavior that you may not even know are occurring, such as a stiffening of the shoulders when touched; one of you going to bed first; or one of you taking more “business trips.” Staying together for their sake might seem like the “right” thing to do, but it will not help you, your spouse or your children in the long run. In cases where you or your child is being abused, it is even more dangerous.

What the research says

Studies and polls support the idea that it is better for an unhappy couple to separate or divorce than to stay together for the sake of the children. In 2008, Cornell published a study that looked at close to 2000 families. In that study, they “compare[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][d] children living with both biological parents, but whose parents differ in how often they argue, to children in stepfather and single-mother families…. Findings suggest that parental conflict is associated with children’s poorer academic achievement, increased substance use, and early family formation and dissolution.”

In 2015, the British family law organization, Resolution, polled 514 people between the ages of 14 and 22 about their experience with parental separation. According to their research, “An overwhelming majority (82%) of the young people surveyed said that, despite their feelings at the time, they felt it was ultimately better that their parents divorced rather than stay together unhappily.”

Despite how you may feel about your spouse, you can channel the feelings you have about preserving your child’s happiness and sense of safety into making the divorce and subsequent co-parenting process as healthy and cooperative as possible. And you do not have to feel guilty about doing so, either.

Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC provides thoughtful, competent guidance to clients throughout Maryland. To learn more about our services, please call 410-990-0090 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with a skilled Annapolis divorce attorney.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]