When you’re not happy in your marriage, you and your spouse may be considering divorce. But, if you have kids, that decision could become more difficult. Instead of divorcing, some couples consider staying together because they think it will benefit their kids.
The decision is a personal one that has no right and wrong answers. As you determine what’s right for you, let’s look at some of the common arguments on both sides of the coin.
Staying Together for the Kids
Some couples decide to stay together for their kids because they think it will be most beneficial for them academically, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Research shows that children of divorced parents are more likely to get sick, get hurt, and get into accidents compared to children whose parents stay together. Some of this may have to do with the stress that divorce can cause on the family.
But, some children do better when you remove that stress by getting a divorce. There is research to suggest that removing kids from a toxic environment of arguing and tension could improve their well-being.
Another reason why some couples decide to stay together for the kids is that they’re worried about how a divorce would impact their kids academically. Some statistics show that children of divorced parents are less likely to finish high school and go to college and graduate compared with peers of parents who stay together.
But, this may not be true for all children of divorce. Another study found the effects of divorce on academics is higher in families where the separation wasn’t expected. In families where there was a lot of conflict and divorce was anticipated, the impact was less.
Some couples can stay together for the kids and co-parent effectively. But, if parents can’t live together in the same home and co-parent well, it could be an indication that divorce is the better option for everyone involved.
Remember, all children and situations are different. What happens in one home may not happen in another home, so it’s up to you need to decide what is best for your family.
Deciding to Divorce
Deciding to divorce is a difficult decision that many couples grapple with. Since everyone’s circumstances are different, there is no cut and dry answer. But, many experts agree that if there is abuse in the home, divorce is inevitable. Staying in this type of environment is not safe or healthy for anyone.
For other families, grey areas often leave them wondering what they should do—many parents who decide to divorce wonder how their children are going to cope with it. The research found in the book, For Better or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered suggests that nearly 80% of all children of divorced parents end up just as happy and as well-adjusted as children from families that remain together.
But, children need to know that their parents are still going to be their parents, whether they stay married or not. They need to know that their parents will still be involved in their lives.
While some parents may worry about the effects divorce will have on their children, keeping children in an environment filled with anger and bitterness could be worse. Several parenting experts say that children in these situations can learn bad parenting skills that they pass on to their children down the road.
There is also concern that staying together could put kids at risk of neglect if parents are too wrapped up in their issues to focus on their kids. In those cases, staying together may not be in their best interest.
Research suggests that parents who know about some of the effects of divorce and are pro-active can build their children’s resilience and help them have the best outcomes. Establishing routines and giving kids one-on-one attention can help them to feel special and loved when going through a divorce
In the end, deciding to stay together for the kids is a decision that you and your spouse need to make together. It takes some time to weigh the pros and cons and determine how the decision will impact your family.