Should You Stay for the Sake of the Kids?

Not in my opinion. That’s what I told you earlier this week. I didn’t do any research on the matter because I assumed everyone would agree with me, though. That was silly wasn’t it?

I’m really okay with some or all of you not agreeing with me. That’s why there’s a comments area, so you can let me know when you think I’m on crack. That’s exactly what some of you thought when I said you shouldn’t stay together for your kids’ sake.

So, today, I’m going to try to prove to you that I, indeed, do not own a crack pipe. Instead of just spouting off my random opinions on the matter, I’ve done a bit of research. I looked at many studies done during the past 5 years on the effects of divorce on children.

This is what I found:

1. When two unhappily married people stay together and fight a lot, they screw up their kids just as much as when they divorce and one parent drops completely out of the picture. A Cornell study of nearly 2000 households determined that teens who live in high-conflict homes are much more likely to binge drink, smoke, perform poorly in school, drop out of school, be sexually promiscuous, and get knocked up than teens who live in happy homes where the parents aren’t chasing one another around with butter knives.

2. Divorced parents are just as capable of being great parents as married parents. When the University of Alberta studied nearly 5000 households, they found that there was no difference in parenting behavior between divorced parents and married parents. That’s right. None. The divorced parents were just as nurturing, consistent, and strict.

3. It’s the dysfunction that does kids in, not the marital arrangement. Another University of Alberta study of 17000 children determined that children are most harmed psychologically in the year BEFORE their parents split. It was the parental fighting, depression and anger that really screwed the kids up-not the divorce itself. In some situations, kids fared better when their parents finally split.

I’m not encouraging all of you to just end it already. No, I’m the person who saved her marriage by reading martial improvement books. I’m only saying that staying together for the kids is the wrong reason to stay together. Stay together because you think you can turn things around. Stay together because you see a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay together because you still want to try. Stay together because you know you haven’t really given it your all. Stay together because you can still remember why you fell in love.

But don’t do it just for the kids, especially if things are hopeless. If you are only doing it for the kids, you just might be hurting them more than you are helping them.

Note: Thanks to all of you who discovered this site after reading about it on Wow. I’m happily overwhelmed with all of your emails! I cannot answer every email I receive personally, but starting tomorrow and running through next week and possibly beyond, I will be writing blog posts that address your questions. 

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