Staying together “for the kids” carries many risks for couples and their children. This strategy often backfires, harming kids more than it helps them. Couples who are struggling in their marriages need to understand the risks of remaining married so they can make the best decision for their children.
1. Couples Teach Their Children Marriage Is About Separateness
Children learn about relationships by watching their parents, and often those children emulate what they see at home. A healthy marriage is about togetherness, and this is not demonstrated by couples living in conflict. Couples who are ready to divorce, but stay together for the sake of their children, are no longer emotionally connected. Staying together gives children the wrong idea about what marriage looks like. Children raised in this type of environment do not learn the skills needed to have healthy marriages of their own.
2. This Idea Can Lead to Neglect
Parenting experts have found that children who are raised in families with parents in constant conflict often suffer from neglect. The parents are unable to pour into their children when dealing with their own emotional conflict, and this can lead to physical and emotional neglect. Co-parenting in different homes can create a healthier living arrangement for children in these instances.
3. Children Prefer that Their Parents Split Up
Parents who stay together when they are no longer emotionally connected create a cold family environment. Children, when they are older, often report they would have preferred the parents break up than continue this living arrangement. Divorce lawyers also report that many children say they are happier once the couple finally chooses to divorce after years of living together in an unhappy marriage. Having two happy parents living in separate homes is better than having two unhappy parents trying to stay together just to preserve a certain living arrangement.
4. Children May Become the Go-Between
In an unhappy marriage, children sometimes become the go-between. Instead of talking to each other and working out their differences, couples often ask their kids to speak to the other spouse on their behalf. This puts children in an uncomfortable situation. Instead, parents who choose to divorce can begin their own, happier homes separately, focusing their efforts on supporting their children rather than trying to avoid conflict.