Many couples in Minnesota with children worry when they begin to think about divorce. They are unhappy and their relationship with their children's other parent is deteriorating. Especially at this time of year, when the media constantly portray happy families sitting around a Thanksgiving Day table or Currier and Ives images of homes decorated for the holidays, deciding on divorce may make you feel like a Grinch.
However, marriage and divorce are complex things. Many people feel they should stay together for the sake of their children. That may not always be the best course of action. A recent study of children of divorced or separated parents finds that 82 percent of those children felt it was better for their parents to divorce if remaining married left them unhappy.
And let's be honest, even young children, who may not fully understand the technicalities of a divorce or why daddy must move out, do understand when their parents are unhappy. Parents may believe that they can deceive their children and put on a happy face, but if the marriage if failing, that type of band-aid is unlikely to be very convincing, even to small children.
Children know when their parents are constantly mad at each other, they feel the harsh remarks and the icy silences, and they are not fooled by the strained smiles and forced laughter of a couple that no longer is in love.
It should come as little surprise that the children would recognize this first, as they must experience that behavior each and every day. It is the tension and stress of a failing relationship that often makes life more difficult for everyone.
When parents recognize their marriage is over, but their role as a parent will continue and is paramount, they can move beyond the anger, stress and work together to raise their children, even if they must do it apart.
Source: theguardian.com, "Children of divorce: 82% rather parents separate than 'stay for the kids'," Owen Bowcott, November 22, 2015