How Staying in an Unhappy Marriage Can Affect Your Children

Posted on in Divorce

Often, when couples who are married begin thinking about a divorce, the topic of children comes up. Do you stay together for the kids, or do you divorce? Every divorce is different, and so is every child–that is why there is not really any way of knowing what exact effect a divorce will have on your child. However, many studies have shown that staying in an unhappy marriage can be more damaging to children than the effects of a divorce. Some of the effects that children may experience in this type of situation include:

1. Chronic Stress

Parents play a crucial role in a child’s development–their relationship with their parents is one of the most important parts of their upbringing. When a child is raised with parents who are constantly at odds, they internalize the conflict. This means that rather than feeling at ease and comforted when they are with both parents, they feel tension and stress. Such constant stress can also cause physical symptoms in children, such as depression or chronic fatigue.

2. Mood Problems or Behavioral Issues

Parents who are constantly fighting teach their children to forgo optimism and expect the worst at a very young age. This can cause problems in children such as dysthymia, which is a mild, but long-term form of depression. These problems can also be the root of many adult issues, like personality disorders or substance abuse.

3. Low Self-Esteem

Children who live in homes with unhappy parents can often feel isolated or rejected. This can cause them to have feelings of low self-esteem or unworthiness. Being around parents who are constantly fighting can put a strain on the child and cause them to be at odds with themselves. For example, they may want friends but choose to isolate themselves. They are often unsure of themselves and wonder if they are the cause of their parents’ unhappiness.

4. Intimacy Issues

Children learn everything from their parents, including how to function in an intimate relationship. If they grew up with parents who were in high-conflict marriages, they can suffer intimacy issues as adults. These children can avoid closeness or strong bonds with others, because it triggers their traumatic childhoods. When they do get close to someone, they tend to reenact their parents’ conflicts with their partner.

5. Bearing the Responsibility of Their Parents’ Unhappiness

One thing that is most common for children who live in unhappy households is that they feel responsible for their parents’ unhappiness. You can try to hide your marital issues from your children, but they can and probably will pick up on the tension in the home. Because of the ego-centric nature of children, they begin to think that the anger, stress, or unhappiness they are witnessing is their fault.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Lawyer

If you are living in an unhappy marriage, a divorce can be a viable option for you, especially if you have children. Deciding to get a divorce can be the best thing you could do for your family if your marriage is creating an unhappy household. If you are thinking of divorce, it is important that you contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC, we will discuss your situation with you and help you understand your options. Call 630-836-8540 to set up a free consultation.