5 Ways Staying In An Unhappy Marriage Can Hurt Your Child

Misbah Akhtar

We’ve all heard it before: “We have to stay together, for the kids”. After saying it for a while it starts to sound like the truth… but it’s not. Trying to make an unhealthy marriage work takes its toll and it may come as a surprise to you but it’s been obvious to everyone else. And if you think your kids didn’t notice, you’re wrong again. Pretending to be happy is still just pretending and it doesn’t solve anything. The older your children get the faster they’ll realize that something is wrong and they’ll start feeling unhappy too. You tell yourself that you have to endure for their sake when in reality you’re just too afraid to do it on your own, so you decide to stay, thinking it can’t get any worse. But it can for your kids, and here’s why.

1.Your child may end up being depressed

A report done by National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine says that there is a link between parental depression and changes in their children’s behaviour. A child starts to display signs of mood swings, problematic temperament and lack of self-worth. The fact of the matter is that if you feel unhappy during a long period of time, your kids will pick up on it and start acting out. You don’t want to leave your children emotionally scarred for life. If you’re unhappy, they don’t need to be too.

2. Kids always feel responsible

Children are very intuitive and there’s no point in hiding your misery from them. According to Betsy Ross, a Massachusetts-based psychotherapist, even the youngest children sense when something is wrong and by being naturally ego-centred, they think your unhappiness somehow directly relates to them. Don’t let your kids carry the weight of your problems. It’s your job to protect them not the other way around.

3. They won’t consider their home a safe place

When it comes to feeling safe, there’s no place like home. For some at least. If you live in an environment constantly filled with tension chances are you won’t feel like sticking around. Deborah Mecklinger, a mediator, and therapist from Toronto, Ontario, explains that kids feel very confused when faced with an unpredictable situation at home. They feel like they have to walk on eggshells, never knowing when something’s about to break. If done right, divorce can resolve all conflicts leaving both sides in good relations. Children should have proper role models who’ll teach them the value of respect, tolerance and good communication.

4. Unhappy partners are often absent parents

If you’re not getting along with your spouse, coming back home won’t be your first priority. In an unhappy marriage, people tend to avoid being at home in order to escape yet another unnecessary argument. Choosing to work longer hours, spending more time with friends or trying to drown your sorrows in a bar are all desperate cries for help. However, in the end, it’s not you who suffers the most.

When a thought of coming back home becomes so unbearable, it’s time to ask for help. A good divorce is better than a bad marriage but only if done right. That is why you should consult only with the best lawyers in Sydney or in an area close to you who will make sure you and your family go through the entire process smoothly while having your children’s best interest as the highest priority.

5. You’re setting a bad example for your kids’ future relationships

Having witnessed first hand how bad things between two people can get, your children will grow up thinking all romantic relationships are destined to fail. By settling down, you are teaching your children that being unhappy is ok and something to be expected in the future. It can also affect their behaviour causing them to become passive or pessimistic when it comes to having a romantic relationship of their own. Don’t let the fear of being alone ruin your child’s chance of happiness. Think of it as a new beginning, a second chance at love, an opportunity to start fresh. Show your kids that one bad relationship doesn’t mean they will all be the same.

Bad relationships affect more than just two people involved. Having kids changes everything and all of a sudden it’s not just about the two of you anymore. It’s about them and your responsibility towards making your family a safe and loving environment in which your children can grow up and become happy, well-functioning adults. It’s maybe easier for you to accept things the way they are and settle for something other than being happy but you owe it to your children to at least try to make a difference. Stop making excuses and start doing the right thing.

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