It’s a common turn of phrase that some married couples in Texas stay together “for the children.” The concept is that a bad or dysfunctional marriage is still a better model in terms of structure, convenience and emotional health for raising children compared to divorced adults living separately. However, there is evidence that trying to force a failing marriage to stick together is worse for the children than splitting up.
Effect of divorce on children
The traditional view of divorce is that the children experience harm from the breakup of the marriage. However, there is less attention paid to the harm of exposing children to a broken marriage that the parents are forcing together. Kids can see through a dishonest or forced relationship. At the same time, honesty and transparency about when a relationship is not working and healthy modeling of what breakups and co-parenting look like can be beneficial for children’s development. Some research shows that children from divorced households have more empathy and self-reliance, and they develop a deeper understanding of what makes marriages work.
The idea that it is better to stay married for the sake of the children is not much more than a myth, and it can impede progress toward an amicable divorce, which is a healthier and more stable status than a failed relationship that tries to maintain a marriage. Being open and honest with the kids and moving on from a bad relationship is often the best move for everyone involved.
it’s a long-standing idea that parents should stay married even if the relationship is failing in order to protect the kids, recent research has shown that it isn’t any better than divorce. If parents work together, divorce can even have some positive benefits for the kids.