Staying in a Bad Marriage Can Be More Harmful to Your Kids Than Divorce

Are you trapped in a bad marriage? Are you staying together for the kids? While this may sound like a noble venture, experts are now saying it is better for the children if parents in a bad marriage actually divorce.

According to an article in the Huffington Post titled7 Ways You Can Damage Your Kids by Staying in a Bad Marriage,” parents may inadvertently be doing a dissersive to their children by staying together. The article quotes Rosalind Sedacca, a divorce and parenting coach as well as author, as saying “… divorce is preferable to years of living in a home where the parents fight and disrespect one another.”

Children are smarter than we give them credit. They know when Mommy and Daddy are not getting along. Even worse, the article says, they will feel responsible for their parent’s happiness:

It doesn’t matter how much you try to shield your kids from the unhappiness and lack of love between you and your spouse — chances are, they’ll pick up on it, said Betsy Ross, a Massachusetts-based psychotherapist. 

“Even the youngest children can sense that you’re suffering and that things are not right,” she said. “Since children are naturally ego-centered and generally have the idea that they are more powerful than they really are, they are likely to think they’ve somehow caused your unhappiness and that it’s really about them.”  

This isn’t the message most parents want to convey, of course, but “it’s important to recognize that your child may believe that your anger, disinterest or frustration is their own fault,” said Ross.

Instead of staying in a “toxic home environment,” the article says it is better for the parents to divorce.  However, that does not mean that knock-down, drag-out litigation is better for the kids.  The divorce has to be handled correctly:

Co-parenting with an ex may not be how you envisioned raising your kids, but when the alternative is two incredibly unhappy adults parenting under the same roof, it may be your best option, Sedacca said.

“If children are being raised in a war zone or in the silence and apathy of a dead marriage, divorce may open the door to a healthier, happier future for everyone in the family,” she said. “But only –- and this is the key point — only if the parents consciously work on creating a harmonious, child-centered divorce that puts the kids’ well-being first.”

 If you have any questions, I can be reached by phone at 214-526-5234 or by email at [email protected]. VernerBrumley’s principal office is located in Dallas, Texas.