“We’re staying together for the children, at least until they are out of school.” This idea probably sounds familiar. There is a good chance that you can think of at least one couple you know who, consciously or not, are keeping their marriage intact simply for the sake of their children. You may even be doing it with your own marriage. While staying married for your children may seem logical to spare them the stress and anxiety of dealing with a divorce at a young age, research is beginning to show that divorce is not always the problem it has been made out to be. In fact, if it can put an end to a high-conflict marital and family relationship, divorce may even be the best option.
Examining Conflict and Divorce
Researchers from Montclair University in New Jersey and the University of Arizona recently published a study that looked at the effects of divorce and high-conflict marriages on the couples’ children. The team analyzed data collected in three separate waves of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), spanning the period from 1987 to 2003. The researchers found that children of intact marriages who experienced high levels of family conflict were more likely to get divorced in adulthood. By contrast, children of high-conflict marriages that were ended by divorce a had future divorce rate similar to children from lower-conflict intact marriages.
The study suggests that high conflict, including fighting, worries over money, values, abuse, and other concerns, is a far bigger problem than divorce. The team also observed that children in high-conflict, intact marriages may be more likely to “model their parents’ conflictual style,” leading to future issues in their own marriages. Following a divorce, daily conflict between parents is lessened, as is the effect of the conflict on their children, the researchers suggest.
The research, though interesting, is hardly the first of its kind. Parenting and relationship experts are increasingly aware of the impact that an unhappy, unhealthy marriage can have on a child. Of course, divorce can create difficulties and problems of its own, but remaining in a combative environment—or even cold, loveless one—can have a more serious impact. A child of such a marriage may have trouble recognizing what is and what is not healthy in a relationship, as well as learning to compromise to resolve relationship issues.
Is Divorce Right for You?
The decision to end your marriage is rarely an easy one, but it may be the best available option, not only for your sake but for the well-being of your children. If you are considering divorce, contact an experienced St. Charles divorce lawyer to discuss your situation. Call 630-377-7770 today to schedule your free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., today.