For people in their 50s and 60s, they grew up in an era where divorce was
viewed quite differently than it is today. When Baby Boomers were children,
divorce parents were looked down upon; they were shunned and gossiped about. People
would quietly whisper about presumed affairs, spousal abuse and mental
disorders. Divorced mothers would be home-wreckers while divorced fathers
must have had a midlife crisis and abandoned their wives and children.
Society’s message to married couples in the 1960s and 1970s was clear:
Do whatever you can to keep your family together. Keep your family intact,
even if it means enduring
domestic violence, alcoholism, or adultery.
The family unit has come a long way since our parents were kids. Today,
nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce and those numbers are
even higher for second and third marriages. If you’re trapped in
a hollow marriage and you have kids, you may be wondering, “How
would a divorce affect my children?”
Much of it comes down to how the divorce is handled by you and your spouse.
If you remain in a
highly-toxic marriage, two things are for sure: it is going to damage your children and it will
do more harm than good. Think divorce is bad for kids? Try forcing them
to endure a loveless marriage. Try forcing them to deal with constant
tension and constant arguing day in and day out. Since it’s nearly
impossible for parents to hide their dysfunctional relationship, children
do bear the brunt of it.
Children are often present for daily arguments. They are observant, sensitive
creatures and they sense when their parents are miserable; they are not
blind. Intuitively, they can feel their parents’ unhappiness and
they can sense their parents’ coldness and emotional distance between
In many situations, children blame themselves for their parents’
conflict; they tend to think it’s all their fault. They think, “If
only I did my chores better. If only I got better grades. If only I was
a better kid. If only I listened better to Mom and Dad. If only I was
more helpful at home.”
Five ways children can suffer from their parents’ toxic marriage:
1. Constant Arguing
When parents are constantly arguing at home, it affects the children directly.
Children are very sensitive and when they overhear their parents argue,
it upsets them. During an argument, children can put on their headphones,
clutch on to a favorite stuffed animal or blanket (small children), cry,
or go into a temporary depression.
Parental conflict can be so distracting, kids have trouble concentrating on homework and
want to do nothing but escape the turmoil. Constant exposure to parental
conflict is stressful and affects children emotionally and sometimes physically.
2. Chronic Tension
When children are exposed to chronic tension, it’s akin to being
in a constant state of stress. Science has proven that stress leads to
overeating, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other
negative health effects in adults. It can’t possibly be good for
children’s health either. Often, the childhood trauma and emotional
scars of child’s parents’ bad marriage has effects that last
3. Lack of ‘Joy’ in the Home
What do children need? They need love and lots of it. When children are
constantly exposed to the emotional stressors of their parents’
toxic marriage, there is a lack of joy in the home and believe us, the
children can feel it. The children go to school or their friends’
houses to escape their home life and when they come home, they dread being
there every minute. This is NO WAY for children to live.
4. Cold Atmosphere
Can you imagine growing up in a home that’s cold and lacking warmth
(emotional warmth, the feel-good kind)? Well, you may be living it right
now as an adult but it’s no way for a child to live. No parent wants
to rob their children of a happy childhood but when they remain in a toxic
marriage, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
You can buy your children all of the latest electronics, video games, and
designer clothes in the world but no material item can make up for a loving
home where your children actually want to be.
5. Emotional Instability
When children are chronically exposed to high-conflict marriages, it eats
away at them. Day-by-day, the strain diminishes their emotional stability
and inner peace, putting them at odds with their natural impulses. For
example, they may want nothing more than emotional intimacy, but they
socially isolate themselves from friends and family.
They yearn to have friends, but instead they reject them and become a loner.
They long for love, but can’t handle developing close relationships.
They have amazing talents and creative abilities, but burry them deep
and give up before they get started. Their parents’ external conflict
almost always becomes an internal battle and it leads to unhealthy and
“Please Mom and Dad, Get a Divorce Already!”
If you’re in a high-conflict marriage and your children are older
than 10-years-old or are very mature for their age, they may be hoping,
dreaming, praying that you get a divorce. If your child is in seventh
grade or above, they may have already told you that you should get a divorce.
They may have even asked you, “Why are you still married? Why don’t
you just get a divorce already?” If your child has had this type
of conversation with you, it may be time to take their input to heart.
There are plenty of children of high-conflict marriages who suffer regular
humiliation at school, during extracurricular activities, and in front
of their friends because of their parents’ toxic relationship. Sometimes,
the verbal abuse children witness on behalf of one or both of their parents
causes them to suffer from headaches, depression, mood disorders, and
even weight problems. Think a bad marriage affects you physically and
emotionally? Well, it’s probably affecting your children too.
For countless children, when their parents finally decide to end their
high-conflict marriages, the children’s depression lifts. They start
doing better in school, and they can finally have peace and love in their
home. In fact, it’s amazing how much better life can be for everyone
once a toxic marriage is put an end to.
3 Signs It’s Time to Call it Quits
Looking for a Los Angeles divorce attorney?
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to arrange your free initial consultation.