Unhappily married with kids is hard on families

Some marriages go on longer than they should. A common reason for this is that parents believe it is better for the children if they remain married despite their marriage as unfulfilling. This is supported by dated or studies and thinking on the harmful impact a divorce can have upon a family. However, there now is compelling evidence that the strain of a dysfunctional marriage has can have an equal or more significant negative impact.

The negative impact of conflict

Some parents keep their fights away from the eyes and ears of their children. It is not always the case, particularly in 2020, with everyone more likely home under one roof. Harmful examples include:

  • Frequent fighting
  • Heated verbal jousting with raised voices and hurtful insults
  • Physical aggression or the threat of it
  • Fighting about the children
  • Stretches where parents are not talking, or (worse) using the kids to communicate

Setting a bad example

Kids naturally look up to their parents and learn from them. It can be bad if the marriage is a rocky one. The common problems:

  • Damages bond with child: Parents are often exhausted from fighting and have little emotional support left for children also hurting from these incidents.
  • Triggers bad behavior: Marital conflict can prompt many mental health issues (including depression or anxiety) or behaviors (including withdrawing from others or acting out) in the children.
  • Lower grades: Hostile home environments impact children’s ability to focus or reduces the importance of academics.
  • Affects interpersonal skills: The children will be less likely to resolve conflicts positively and may cause a lack of skill in managing their own relationships or romances, which can subsequently lead to their divorces.

Divorce is not giving up

Terminating a harmful or unsatisfying marriage or relationship is an important step to changing one’s life for the better. This, in turn, makes the parent better able to handle the rigors of raising a family, including taking steps to minimize the negative impact of a divorce.

How they handle a divorce is one crucial step to avoiding further damage to the family. If the couple is open to it, many find mediation less stressful, faster and less expensive. It can also help create a template for a working co-parenting partnership that enables the children to flourish.

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