While the stigma surrounding the social implications of divorce has certainly lessened in the past few decades, there is still the question of whether or not divorcing when you have children is better or worse for the kids themselves. Most psychologists agree that staying in an unhealthy marriage is not good for children, but some argue that it is not better for a child to grow up without both parents, no matter what their relationship is like. These psychologists believe that a child is more apt to grow up stable if he or she has the structure of a two-parent home, and sees two adults working together in some capacity to raise him or her, regardless of the inner workings of their very personal relationship. Yet staying in an unhealthy marriage just for the kids may do damage not only to the children when they are young, but can also have lasting effects.
The first point here negates the idea that a child is better off if he or she has the opportunity to see two adults working together to run a household, even if their relationship is not great. That is to say, a child is perhaps more sensitive to emotional implications and burdens of their parents than we may like to admit. Children can feel the tension between their parents, and this often leads to emotional scars and wounds that are not recognized for what they are, even as they are developing. A child who grows up in a joyless house, for example, even while she may have a broad understanding of partnership without love, may have trouble seeking joy in her adult life. A child who grows up in a home in which his parents do not respect each other may have trouble finding and giving respect later in life.
There is also the idea that kids sometimes feel responsible for their parents’ happiness—and if they sense that their parents are not happy together can in fact lead to a guilt complex for the child. This, in turn, can lead to low self-esteem and an unhealthy understanding of what it means to be content, and what it means to be happy. As result, the child may grow to be more accepting of poor or unhealthy situations and less likely to be truly happy as an adult.
If you or someone you know is considering divorce and has questions about how to best navigate the process with your children, our office can help. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today. Call 630-879-9090 for a confidential consultation.