How Strengthening Marriage Helps Children

In some cases divorce is necessary for the well-being of the family, for example, when there is abuse. Though when that is not the case, strengthening marriage and working through conflict avoids many challenges while at the same time supporting children in learning valuable skills for life.

Why to avoid divorce when possible

Divorce hurts children when there are fewer resources available to cover expenses and when the reason for the break up is not clear to the children. If the parents appeared to be getting along for the most part and then suddenly break up the children might blame themselves for the split and they might grow up thinking that relationships end randomly.

On the other hand, kids that grow up with their married biological parents are more likely to graduate high school, avoid jail, and avoid teen pregnancy.

Effects of marital conflict

While staying married independent of the quality of the marriage has its benefits, high levels of conflict between spouses appears to negatively influence children and their behavior. Parental bickering may increase teens' drinking, smoking, underachieving at school, and early family formation and dissolution. Other possible effects of a child noticing conflict between parents include anxiety, guilt, and numbing behaviors (e.g. overeating or excessive video game use). A more subtle issue could be a child feeling that she can't talk to her parents about how their fights make her feel. She might also feel the need to take care of other family members' emotions. The pressure that comes with these worries can lead to feelings of depression.

Marriage challenges like financial struggles and high volumes of negative interactions between spouses can lead to a child acting out. The good news is that working through these challenges can reverse those effects, as seen in this example.

Of course some degree of disagreement is inevitable in such an intimate relationship, so it is important to talk to your child about how the conflict makes him feel and help family members develop healthy coping techniques.

How healthy marriages can help kids

When you are in a good place in your relationship there is so much potential to teach your child valuable skills and habits, for example, spouses showing affection toward one another helps children see what a healthy relationship should be like. In addition, demonstrating healthy conflict resolution helps kids learn productive ways of dealing with problems.

If you are struggling in your marriage

If your marriage is a challenge, you are not alone. You can take comfort in the research showing that unhappy couples who stay together report being happy in their relationship 10 years later. It may be well worth it to keep trying!

Here are a few simple tips for strengthening your marriage:

  • Plan regular date nights to stay connected.
  • Forgive quickly instead of letting resentment grow.
  • Share financial expectations - this is a crucial part of marriage.
  • Look into couples counseling if you want some support with avoiding divorce.

If there is even a tiny spec of a chance for your marriage, it might well be worth the work to save it for your kids' as well as your own well-being. As you work on your relationship you can help your children have peace now and success in their future relationships.

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Friday, 19 August 2022

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