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Should We Stay Together for the Kids or Divorce?

This is an age old question without a clear cut answer. The truth is that all marriages are different. So you need to find out whether the kids would actually be better off living in a home where mum and dad are in constant conflict or where they are happy but not living together. You need to answer a few questions before you take your final decision.

Are there any risks involved in staying together?

Kids can pick up negative habits: Some family therapists believe that a major drawback to keeping kids in a home with frequent conflicts, anger and frustration, is that they pick up negative parenting habits. These bad parenting skills will eventually be transferred to the coming generation. Children will ultimately model their behavior after their parents whether it is good or bad.

Kids may suffer neglect: Additionally, some kids may be neglected by their parents when they are not able to deal with their marital problems. This could result in children not eating healthy food or they may abandon their parenting duties all together. One parent may also try to prevent the child from relating well with the other parent.

What are the perceived benefits of staying together?

Kids are better off with both parents: From research, children are usually better raised in a family with both parents, even if there's no physical intimacy between them. If the two parents can avoid undue arguments and anger, and they work together to train their kids, the kids are more likely going to do well. However, even if the parents can't avoid fighting in front of their kids, living in a home for more than a decade without enjoying the fulfilment of a happy marriage could be a herculean task.

Divorce experts have discovered that when parents go through the divorce process, the impact on children can be very devastating. That is why as long as the parents can cope, when the welfare and future of kids is in view, staying together is better than a well-managed divorce.

How to Make a Final Decision

So now that you know some of the pros and cons of living together and of divorce with respect to children, how do you make up your mind about what to do?

Check for abuse: Most family experts say that kids should not be raised in a family where there is abuse. That means divorce is acceptable if a child is being abused physically, emotionally or sexually. Although abusive behaviour may be corrected through the right therapy, these changes seldom occur. So it is better to protect the kids from continuous abuse. When a parent can receive professional help and change the abusive behavior, a separation may be preferred to a divorce.

Can parents work together? A major issue here is whether each parent will agree to set aside their personal satisfaction for the sake of their kids. So if parents are mature enough to put their kids first, and put down their individual differences for their kids, then they will do their children a great service by staying together. On the other hand, if their marital satisfaction is so dear to them, the kids may be better off when their parents live apart.

Can peace be restored to the home? As a couple, you should seek help from a reputable family therapist, spiritual leaders, legal experts and other sources. Try to follow the advice you are given and allow some time for our marriage to be repaired. If there has been infidelity, efforts should be made to restore trust. Before going through the legal process and stress of divorce, it is better to explore all possible avenues to restore the marriage. Strive to invest the time and effort to build a stronger bond with your spouse. This will create a good environment where your children can develop the right attitude and family values.

What to do if there must be a divorce

Some researchers have revealed that 4 out of 5 kids raised by divorced parents end up happy if co-parenting is handled properly after divorce. So if the two of you choose to get a divorce, you should still do your best to work together to raise successful children. Make a commitment to put your kids interest above yours and help your kids to enjoy a happy future.

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