One of the most difficult choices a parent can make is whether to remain in an abusive unhappy marriage with kids or leave. A partnership will become strained, sad, and conflicted even with the best “happily-ever-after” wishes. If this is the case, there will be no hiding it from the children; they will be aware of it, and according to a growing body of evidence, they will bear the brunt of the consequences.
Many findings have shown that divorce harms children, but there is compelling evidence that many of these issues have their origins in the dispute and stress that followed the divorce. It is generally agreed that parental conflict causes damage, especially when one or more of the following factors are present:
- physical aggression;
- heated (verbal insults and raised voices);
- unresolved (in the eyes of the child);
- concerning the child;
- causes parents to treat their offspring quietly.
Parents can go to whatever extent for their offspring, which may lead to the decision to remain in an unhappy marriage with kids. However, the conflict could be more harmful to children than divorce:
Affects the parent-child relationship negatively.
Parent-child relationships tend to be disrupted in an unhappy marriage with kids, where stress and confrontation are the norms. ‘…if mom and dad are arguing, it will show up initially – and in some cases on the second day – in a lower quality relationship with their child,’ says researcher and psychologist Chrystyna Kouros.
The precise explanations for this are uncertain, although there are some hypotheses. Conflict depletes a relationship’s capital, which can lead to inadequate or contradictory parenting. Parents’ energy levels are also depleted, leaving them with less to spend on their children.
This is the catalyst for social and behavioral issues.
Internalizing (such as depression, fear, withdrawal) and externalizing (such as violence, non-compliance) results in children are linked to marital conflict.
Academic success is deteriorating.
Children who report having more aggressive, intense, or unresolved disputes with their parents do worse academically.
Interpersonal capabilities are missing.
There is likely to be no modeling of successful approaches to overcome conflict where there are continuing uncertainty and unresolved conflict between parents. Disagreements are inevitable in life, and children learn how to deal with them first at home, by seeing their parents. There would be less learning of successful partnerships if there is a limited simulation of successful dispute resolution.
They’re having problems with their intimate affairs in the future.
Children who are subject to regular marital strife are more likely to deal with their intimate relationships as they move into puberty and adulthood. Children from high-conflict backgrounds have a poor history of intimate relationships, effectively restricting their perception of how good relationships operate.
This causes the relational vulnerability.
According to a study, when parents are in an unhappy marriage with kids, the tension jeopardizes their children’s social and emotional well-being by jeopardizing their sense of family stability. This, in essence, forecasts the onset of teenage disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Cortisol levels rise as a result of cardiac stress (the stress hormone).
Children’s physiological responses are triggered by parental tension or confrontation. According to studies, as children see parental confrontation, they feel heart stress and a substantial rise in cortisol levels in their bodies. This physical reaction will damage their stress response systems and obstruct their mental and intellectual growth.
Nonverbal and verbal confrontations elicit the same reactions.
Children reacted equally to both verbal and nonverbal sources of disagreement between their parents, according to a study conducted at the University of Notre Dame. Eye-rolling, deep sighs, silent treatment, and non-verbal bullying all trigger the same stress response in children as shouting, name-calling, and verbal spite.
Increases the chances of adult children divorcing their parents.
Adult children whose parents split after a high-conflict marriage had the highest divorce rates, according to research. Those whose parents remained together but had a high tension relationship had the second-highest rate.