This is by far one of the most frequently asked questions about divorce. The reason this question is so difficult to answer is that every family is different and one size isn’t for everyone when it comes to divorce. The degree of conflict in a marriage also plays a big role in adapting child divorce.
For the kids
Whether parents should stick together for the sake of their children depends to a large extent on the stress and disruption of family relationships that often accompany an unhappy or conflicted marriage.
An important question is: Would my divorce improve your children’s wellbeing? If the answer is yes, divorce can be beneficial. However, if divorce leaves your children with fewer resources such as more conflict and parenting difficulties, the answer may be to stick with your spouse, at least for now (unless there is abuse).
How are you doing?
You will have a good measure of whether your marriage is negatively affecting your children if you answer this question honestly: Is my partner doing my best and are we good role models for our children?
Divorce experts agree that a parent who is less able to cope with life’s stressors due to an abusive, extremely unhappy, or conflicted marriage is not suited to be a competent parent. It is evident that one happy parent will raise well-adjusted children who will thrive.
How high is the conflict in your marriage?
Divorce researchers agree that the level of conflict between family members is very important when it comes to adapting children. In her seminal book For Better or For Worse, Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington that while divorce can lead to major family disruption, two years later stabilization and parenting skills have usually improved. It is clear that conflict between parents, whether it occurs in an intact, divorced, or remarried family, is associated with a variety of negative effects on children that may still linger.
In her 30 years of research with 1,400 families, Dr. Hetherington that the type of conflict children experience matters. She notes that conflicts in which the child is involved are physically violent, threatening, or abusive, and conflicts in which the child feels trapped in the middle are the most detrimental consequences for children.
Let’s face it, marital conflict can have negative consequences for children, regardless of whether their parents are married or divorced. In a long-term longitudinal study, the renowned divorce researcher Paul Amato found that conflicts in intact families are linked to emotional problems in children. Amato also points out that many of the problems children of divorce face occur in the pre-divorce period, as it is a time of heightened conflict for most parents. Therefore, an increase in the emotional problems children experience after divorce may be due not only to their parents’ divorce, but also to the marital conflict that led to it.
The most important result from Dr. Amato and Dr. Hetherington is as follows: while parental divorce may expose children to more risk factors for later social and psychological problems, this association is moderate and the majority of adolescents (75%) also reach adulthood. functioning individuals. Dr. Amato explains, “If parents are involved in a pattern of chronic, overt, destructive conflict, children may not be worse off (and maybe better off) when the marriage ends in divorce.”
Even late divorce expert Judith Wallerstein, who emphasized the adverse effects of parenting divorce, writes: “Children who grow up in extremely unhappy or violent families face misery in childhood and tragic consequences in adulthood.” “I have not seen any research, including mine, that suggests divorce is generally harmful to children.”
The author Claudia Perez PhD puts it this way: “The experience of feeling safe, warm and caring at home is what every child wants and deserves, regardless of the configuration of today’s modern family. Teens involved in direct or indirect fights between parents can become confused and nervous. They watch television programs or look at picture books depicting happy families. When adults make nasty comments, being sarcastic, or blaming, children wonder if they are the cause. Did I do something wrong? Was I bad? The negativity can be as subtle as the rolling of the eyes or the silent treatment, or as open as the screaming or the shoving. Children know their parents are at odds. In the heat of the moment, mom or dad are often unaware that they don’t respect their child. “The Ming-Ep is the most important top of form
Here is a summary of the findings on whether it is better for parents to remain in an unhappy marriage for their children:
- Divorce is painful, but sometimes necessary when a child is exposed to certain types of conflict or abuse. Sometimes a child’s well-being improves after a divorce, but every family situation is unique. Whether a child will benefit or be harmed from a divorce depends on how many resources and stressors there are.
- Avoid exposing your child to conflict this affects the child, is physically violent, threatening or abusive; and conflict in which the child feels trapped in the middle.
- Investigate factors that influence it the susceptibility of an individual child to the negative consequences of divorce, if one occurs. These factors include: the child’s temperament, gender, and a good parenting plan.
- Try to practice joint custody or parenting If you get divorced because research shows that children are better off in these situations than children in solitary confinement (provided there is no abuse).
- Minimize controversial interactions and encourage positive bonds between you and your children after a divorce. This is especially important for fathers and daughters as this is the relationship that is most vulnerable to disruption after a family breakup, according to Dr. Linda Nielsen.
If you choose to have an unhappy marriage, it is a good idea to seek advice and resources from yourself and other family members. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute. A person’s ability to do this can change the dynamics of the relationship. Dr. Julie and John Gottman write, “One person’s response will literally change the other person’s brain waves.” If necessary, apologize to your partner. This will confirm their feelings and encourage forgiveness, and allow both of you to move on.
Many factors determine whether or not unhappy parents should stay in a marriage for the good of the children. Whether or not you decide to break up, it is wise to consider marriage counseling before you throw in the towel. When you get divorced, take comfort in the fact that most children of divorce are resilient and show good adjustment in the long run. With patience and hard work, some marriages improve over time – when both partners see each other as part of a team, avoid blaming each other and maintain an atmosphere of admiration, respect, and tolerance.
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This blog was previously published on HuffingtonPost.com