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Stay or Separate; which is better for the kids?

Child reacts to fighting parents
To Stay or Separate?

When it comes to deciding whether to stay together as a family or separate, it can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the welfare of children. Many couples stay together for the sake of their children, with an estimated 40% choosing to do so. Furthermore, a survey revealed that 28% of people believe that staying together is a better option than separating. Religion also plays a significant role in determining whether a couple should separate, as it is often seen as taboo, with many religious individuals choosing to wait until their children have completed high school or never separating at all. However, the question remains: is it truly better for the children to stay together in an unhappy marriage or separate?

The short answer is that staying together in a loving relationship is beneficial for the children as they feel more secure in a two-parent household. However, this only applies if the parents get along. If there is constant tension and fighting between the parents, it may be best to consider separating.

When making this decision, there are several things to consider. Firstly, children are incredibly perceptive and sensitive to tension in the household, even if it is not directed towards them. This can have an adverse effect on their sense of security and their trust in the stability of family and intimate relationships. It can also make it challenging for them to communicate their feelings with either parent, leading to isolation and further emotional distress.

Secondly, the age of the children is a crucial factor to consider. Children between the ages of 0-6 are like sponges, and they are continuously absorbing information from their environment. This includes negative stimuli, and during these early years, it is essential to provide a stable and loving environment for them to thrive. After the age of six, children start to seek independence and peer acceptance, which means that instability in the home may have a lesser impact on their long-term emotional wellbeing.

Thirdly, the kind of divorce you have is a significant factor in determining whether separation is a better option. High-conflict divorces, which include situations with domestic violence or verbal abuse, can have devastating effects on both adults and children. Studies have shown that 15-30% of divorces fall under this category, and these cases often result in litigation and long court battles. In such instances, it may be better to remain in an unhappy but non-violent marriage.

However, if you can have an amicable divorce, it may be healthier for your children to see that two happy parents can co-parent successfully, even if they live apart. It may also provide an opportunity for parents to model healthy communication skills in resolving problems and moving forward after separation. These are crucial life skills that children will need, and it is an ideal time to teach them with age-appropriate exposure.

In conclusion, a high-conflict divorce can be more damaging to children than an imperfect marriage. Still, an amicable divorce may be better than staying in an unhappy marriage, as it can provide an opportunity to model healthy communication skills and co-parenting effectively. Ultimately, the decision to stay together or separate for the sake of the kids, should be based on the wellbeing of all family members, and it should be made after careful consideration of all the factors involved.

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