There’s no doubt that living with two happy parents is the best thing for children, but with the divorce rate over 50%, that’s not always a reality. However – the operative word to keep in mind here is happy. Lisa Strohschein, a professor in the sociology department of the University of Alberta, says that living with unhappy parents is actually harder on kids than divorce! Here are the details, courtesy of Web MD:
- Strohschein followed thousands of children for four years. They all started out living in two parent households, but about half those marriages ended in divorce.
- Compared with kids whose parents remained married, the children of divorced parents exhibited more antisocial behavior, such as lying, cheating and bullying. They also were more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
- The problems these kids had started while they lived with both parents. In fact, their behavior improved after the split.
Strohschein says her research shows it’s living in a dysfunctional household – not divorce – that causes a lot of bad behavior. Psychologist Judith Primavera – who’s published research on children of divorce – agrees. She says that your marital problems don’t need to be of the Jerry Springer variety. In her work, she’s found that troubled couples who don’t fight verbally stress their kids out almost as much as hot-blooded parents. That’s because when people live in the same house but don’t interact like a couple, children have more trouble in school and more difficulty socializing. This might be the most important point: Since children learn how to have adult relationships from their parents, staying in an unhappy marriage for their sake increases your child’s chances of being in a similar situation one day.