Research shows that conversations between unhappy couples are morphing from “Can we work it out?” to “Should we work it out?”
Two-thirds of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey agreed that children develop better within a two-parent household. However, if the hypothetical parents are despondent, sentiments change markedly. Respondents believed that if married parents are unhappy with one another, divorce is the best option, both for them and for their children.
All of which begs the question: are kids happier (and healthier) with peacefully divorced parents, than with a miserable couple that follows the old adage of “staying together for the kids?”
Dr. Michelle New, a clinical child psychologist and founder of Kentlands Kids, a private practice in Gaithersburg, Md., says, “A more realistic view is that a child benefits from a home with two parents or caregivers, but it is a matter of what is optimal as opposed to what is ideal. What they really need is love, consistency, discipline and access to both parents, wherever possible.”
She goes on to say that the age of the child is the true deciding factor. “The younger the child is, the more important it is to have more than one parent in the home, even if they are not biological parents. Studies show that in the first years of life, that having a single caregiver is highly stressful for both the child and parent,” she explains.
Author and psychologist Dr. Neill Neill writes that the “issue for the children’s health and development is not whether the parents are together or apart, but how well they handle conflict. If separating gives them space to cool down and co-parent with mutual respect, the children, as children, will be better off than when their parents were together.”
He adds that as adults, children of divorce can then refer back to a model that showed that they don’t have to go down with a sinking ship. “Their parents didn’t unravel the family by separating. Rather, they separated because the family had already unraveled.”
But how do you protect your kids from the negative effects of a divorce? No matter how amicable the split, there will be some impact on your children. However, there are real steps that you as a parent can take to help them adjust.
If you’re facing a divorce, supporting your children is your first priority. And we’re here to help. Learn more about Jay Babbitt and get in touch with the Columbus divorce attorneys at Babbitt & Dahlberg today to schedule a consultation and learn more.