Many couples feel pressured to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of their children. Instead of going their separate ways, they remain in a marriage that isn’t working and make themselves unhappy to try to keep their children happy. While this might seem like the right decision at the time, staying together just for the sake of your kids can actually end up having a negative impact on your family.
1. It Will Cause Resentment
Children can end up feeling like they need to take one parent’s side over the other, which can end up being a huge struggle and a source of anxiety for them. Even if you try to hide your marriage issues, your kids will eventually notice a difference in the way the two of you interact. They can end up blaming themselves for problems within the family, which can lead to low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety and resentment.
2. Your Children Will Internalize Your Behavior
Children learn about relationships from watching their parents interact. They will learn how two people are supposed to treat other and what to expect from a partner. Your example could show them respect, compassion and consideration, or contempt, spite and disinterest. If you’re unhappy in your marriage, it will show through your words and actions and your children will be paying close attention to the example you set.
3. Your Children Will Be Surrounded By Conflict
Many parents think their children are immune to tension in the home as long as it isn’t directed toward their kids. But tension between parents can easily trickle down to the rest of the family. Even if there is no yelling, fighting or abuse, children will pick up on feelings of contempt and unhappiness. It affects them more than you might realize. If your child feels surrounded by tension and conflict, they may struggle with feelings of security and happiness.
Staying together for the kids may seem admirable, but it can end up creating an unhappy environment for your children. Don’t teach your children to settle. Instead, demonstrate self-respect, independence and healthy boundaries. It might be tough for a while, but someday they will understand, and they may be thankful for the healthy example you set.