Should You Stay Together for the Kids?

A nuclear family just for the kids’ sake is not the best idea. Today, you will learn why keeping marriage for the children is a bad idea and what it can actually lead to.

Your relationship with your child will get worse

There is a phenomenon of insufficient justification: in this case, a person cannot justify what he does. The opposite effect is over-justification: in such a situation, a person doesn’t act for the sake of their true interests. They can even do something against their will.

How does it work? Imagine a child who loves to read. One day, the school library announces a contest: whoever reads more will win a prize. So, the child begins to read not for pleasure but for the sake of a prize.

If parents promise money for every book the child reads, everything is finally turned upside down. The child’s interest in reading is declining: they try hard for other reasons and, in fact, not for themselves.

“I stay in the marriage for the child’s sake” is exactly the same obvious over-justification. My marriage lasts not because I love this man/woman and want to improve the relationship. I keep my marital status for someone else.

As a result of this behavior, the spouses’ relationship will only worsen. What is especially sad is that mom and dad’s attitude to the child will also deteriorate. Before you just loved the child, now, you are suffering for him. In turn, the child will suffer because you are suffering.

The child is uncomfortable in an environment of constant conflicts

Being in a “bad” marriage, a man and a woman, as a rule, cannot live in peace – discuss routine matters or go to the movies together. They fight with and without reason. In such an environment, the kid feels very bad.

To understand how a son or daughter feels when they witness a war between the parents, imagine that you work in an office, and two colleagues are constantly scolding next to you – shouting, slamming doors, or maybe even throwing objects. Would you like to exist in such a climate?

The children will blame themselves for all the quarrels

The child will likely begin to think that the parents are arguing because of them. In some cases, the feeling of guilt will increase over time. Such thoughts most often appear by themselves – they cannot be prevented, and it is unnecessary to voice them. The obsessive idea that they behave incorrectly and that they are wrong will lead the children to a sad conclusion: but for them, parents would live better.

What consequences can this have? Unknown. In the best case, the child in adulthood will bring this problem to a psychologist. In the worst case, suicide is not ruled out. Somewhere in the middle – enuresis, deterioration in studies, and issues with peers. Perhaps the child will engage in bullying, or the situation will lead to animal cruelty. Probably the child will just become more isolated.

The child may hate parents who did not divorce for their sake

When a person feels guilty, they often become angry at the one who is the source of discomfort. At first, it feels like this: I see a problem – I want to fix it. How? To compensate. The trouble is that the method of compensation is not apparent.

A child, who constantly hears that an unhappy marriage lasted only for their sake, begins to get angry to get rid of the annoying burden of responsibility for other people’s suffering. It is sad, but the guilt toward the parents may develop into a fierce hatred towards them after some time. In this case, anger is a way of obtaining energy to overcome obstacles.

Children’s uncontrolled stress leads to illness

The child begins to get sick due to chronic uncontrollable stress. Because of it, the protective functions of the body are reduced, and it becomes more vulnerable to any viruses and infections.

In the same way, the child is unlikely to misbehave on purpose – just in order to “fix” the family. This can happen only if the family is at the very beginning of the crisis. The child may want to say something to distract the parents and get their undivided attention. Once or twice these strange measures will help – the family will unite, but then, if there are problems, they will return.

Children from under-divorced families are afraid of their marriages

Contrary to a popular myth, a child will not quarrel in the future simply because their mom and dad quarreled. People tend to copy what they like. For example, every Saturday, parents gather at the table for a big family dinner – the child will want to repeat this tradition. Everything bad will become an anti-example. You need to try hard to make children think that screaming and quarrels are something normal – children are not that foolish.

However, a child may adopt a parental conflict model of communication in adult life simply because they will not know other options. Then they’ll have to fight. How should a person who is not taught alternative ways of solving problems behave?

He will do what he can, and there will be only a raised voice, claims, and insults in his arsenal

At the same time, if children constantly observe conflicting relationships of close people next to them, it is very likely that later they will not want to get married at all. Why do they always fight? Parents quarreled, grandparents quarreled, and then they also got divorced – the child will refuse to make the same mistake. The best way to prevent this is not to start a family.

It is tough to hide marital problems from children

Children are much more vulnerable than adults because they cannot take care of themselves. They closely monitor what is happening in the family because, presumably, this is the only place where they feel protected.

That is why it is rarely possible to hide marital problems from children. Even if, having refused a divorce, parents agree not to conflict in front of their children, they still do not behave the same way as when everything was excellent with them.

For example, they would often smile in the past, but now they smile a couple of times a day, and even these smiles are strained. When dad left, he would kiss mom on the lips, and now he kisses her on the cheek. Such moments are noticeable to any person. Adults are often immersed in their lives – they can miss something supposedly insignificant. Children notice this more often.

There is no direct link between a parent’s divorce and failure in a child’s life

There is no evidence that single-parent families cause problems because of their incompleteness. The allegations that a boy raised by his mother does not observe masculine behavior and becomes a rag, and a girl who finds herself in such a situation seeks not a partner but a lost father is all nonsense.

The people who believe in such theories think something like this: my life did not work out with my wife, but she was from an incomplete family – what else could I expect from her? The person fails to notice all other facts (this is called confirmation bias) – they see only what they want and what fits into their picture.

It is also significant that no one has ever analyzed how difficult children become when they grow up in a conflict environment.

It is impossible to predict how a child will survive a divorce

Is there a good time for a divorce from a child’s point of view? Yes, but it does not depend on age if we are talking about children over six years old. This is the moment when quarrels and screams do not stop at all. In this case, the child simply says thank you to his parents when they finally get a divorce.

It is difficult to predict whether a child will easily survive a divorce or not. Very often, it does not depend on age. At the same time, some researchers argue that teenagers accept divorce with more difficulties than younger children.

When is it really worth trying to save a marriage?

Marriage should be saved only if you want to live with this partner. It is certainly possible and necessary to work on the desire to live together – it is worth speaking openly about your dissatisfaction, offering ways to solve problems, and looking for compromises.

At the same time, it is important that the desire to save the marriage should be mutual. The spouses should not just want it – they should actively participate in all this, making serious efforts.

It is essential to understand that marital problems result from bad behavior. Behavior is a skill that, in turn, is formed by the constant repetition of certain actions.

It cannot be said that everything will be fine with us from now on – it will not. The correct wording is that we will learn to live differently from now on. It will take some time for progress to become tangible. Six months is usually the minimal option. A year is more realistic.