Why A High-Conflict Marriage Is Dangerous For Your Kids

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Why The Concept of Divorce Is A Misconception

Studies have shown that staying together in a marriage for the sake of your children does not benefit their development, however I still hear from parents that say, ” I never should have left my ex. I might be living a miserable life but at least my kids would have their parents together.” The problem with this scenario is that no one is happy in this situation, especially your kids. Two weeks ago, Anna Kendrick from the movies Pitch Perfect and Into The Woods, said that watching her parents’ divorce when she was a teen taught her a lot about love.

“They taught me that staying together for the kids is the wrong approach, “It perpetuates this warped idea of what a healthy marriage is. I hate when people think you’re broken because your parents are divorced. ” I really reject the idea of staying together for the kids. If they’re growing up in a house that’s not healthy, it’s better to know that’s not the model of what marriage should be.”

Kendrick’s words represent the direct thoughts of so many young adults who experience divorce as a child. Most kids do not want their parents to get divorced and have fantasies of them getting back together. This response is perfectly normal but not necessarily the best choice.


“Conflict” Marriages Can Hurt The Future Relationships of Your Children

  • No satisfaction
    When you stay in an unfulfilling, unhappy or even abusive marriage, children come to believe that relationships are experiences that entail suffering, pain and even a slow death. You are not happy, your spouse is not happy and, in turn, your kids are not happy.
  • Kids are like sponges and soak up everything
    If you are living in a volatile marriage filled with arguing or violence, it teaches your children that relationships are supposed to be that way. Children are observing their parents all of the time. What you present to them ,they usually emulate. Children exposed to consistent, intense conflict between parents are more likely to develop lasting expectations of conflict. This can increase the likelihood of conflict in their own personal relationships as children and even as adults, which may make forming stable, satisfying relationships as adults more challenging (Wallerstein, 2000).
  • Don’t learn how to compromise
    When a child watches their parents constantly arguing they learn that there is no such thing as compromise. Compromise is the ultimate key to a healthy long lasting relationship. Compromise is the art of acknowledging that the other person, with his or her unique character traits and ways of doing things, might also be right, and in affirming that the relationship is more important than the difference in opinion
  • Don’t learn respect
    Teaching children to express their upset respectfully involves showing them how to do it (modeling), and teaching them to do it. If you and your spouse/ex are yelling and calling each other names, children are learning that it is okay to disrespect others in a relationship. If you are going to fight, please do it somewhere else besides in front of your children.

The bottom line is that staying in a marriage that is filled with conflict does not benefit anyone. It certainly is not beneficial for children if there is no compromise in sight. . Your kids deserve better and so do you! Children do much better emotionally when their parents are divorced and are able to act civil to one another.

Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book,Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens Who Are Adopted or Fostered is available now. To find out more about her work, please visit Dr. Sue’s website.

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