Should I Stay Married for the Kids?

Anyone will tell you marriage is hard. Few couples manage to hit the golden anniversary without conflict. Even achieving 1 year can be difficult for some. While divorce is always an option, particularly as it has become more socially acceptable, the situation is complicated if a couple has children. In 2014, more than 800,000 marriages ended in divorce. If only half of those couples had children during the marriage, that still leaves at least 400,000 children experiencing their parents’ separation. People all over the United States and the world still ask themselves the same question:

Is Divorce Bad for Kids?

As a society, we still can’t quite answer this question. The biggest obstacle to doing so is the absolute range of variables to take into account when answering it. Here are only a few of the factors that determine whether or not divorce will affect kids negatively:

  • Age of the child
  • Gender of the child
  • Presence of abuse by one or both parents
  • Psychological health of the parents pre- and post-divorce
  • Degree of parental conflict

Even something as unpredictable as a genetic predisposition to coping with significant life changes can affect the overall health and wellbeing of a child. While research shows stability lends itself to the welfare of children, a household can be highly volatile with a married couple who fights regularly.

If you’re unhappy in your marriage, consider how your unhappiness might affect your kids. A 2015 study found 80% of young people aged 14 to 22 said that despite the initial stress and upheaval of experiencing their parents’ divorce, their parents made the right decision in divorcing, rather than staying in an unhappy marriage. Older children are more likely to empathize with your situation compared to younger children, who might think the divorce is their fault.

Leaving an unhappy marriage may be what’s best for both you and your children, but take the time to consider various factors before proceeding, including the present age and psychological state of your child.


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