While there are many reasons and avenues for saving a marriage, but the worst and most dangerous of these reasons is “do it for the kids”. Of course, any parent would be worried about how a divorce would affect their children, but in reality divorce is not what is emotionally harmful to children, rather it is conflict and strife between their parents.
What this means to say is that you are right as a parent to want to protect your children, but it is important to realize that by staying in a dysfunctional or extremely unhappy marriage in the belief that you are doing your children a favor, you are actually causing them the harm that you believed (wrongly) that a divorce would.
In today’s article, our Bergen County family law attorneys will discuss several of the reasons why an unhappy marriage can cause emotional distress in children, and how divorce can be achieved without undue conflict and strife among the married parties and the family as a whole.
The Dangers of a Poor Marriage for Children in Bergen County
Outside of the most obvious causes for divorce such as physical or emotional abuse and violence, it can be an extremely difficult decision whether or not to divorce, especially when children are involved. However, an article released on ScientificAmerican.com earlier this year compiles information from a variety of sources and independent studies which makes it clear that it is not divorce itself which can be emotionally harmful to children, it is conflict and strife between the parents.
Specifically, the article touches upon several key ways in which a dysfunctional marriage can negatively affect children:
- Don’t Turn Your Children Into Therapists – In a marriage where the spouses feel unfulfilled, unhappy, or otherwise emotionally deficient, they often turn to their children for support and comfort. However, it is critical for a child’s development that they focus on “being kids” rather than bearing the responsibility of caring for their parents. Children who grow up believing that their value lies in making other people happy and not understanding that they have much, much more to offer often develop codependence issues later in life.
- Children Are Highly Perceptive – Even though you might think you can hide your marital issues from your children, chances are they have a pretty good idea what is going on. Growing up in a home filled with tension, anger, and other negative feelings can cause high levels of anxiety in a child as they will constantly worry about when their parents will finally decide to just get a divorce. Children will not trust their reality when parents pretend everything is fine when it clearly is not. In fact, children often feel a sense of relief when their parents finally do get a divorce in these types of situations.
- Creating a Poor Role-Model – When children grow up in a situation where their parents are constantly arguing, or barely speak to one another, they will start to believe that this type of relationship is normal. As adults, children growing up in such an environment will seek out similar types of relationships for themselves, and repeat the negative, hurtful, and unhappy behaviors of their parents. Divorce in this type of situation can show children that change is possible, and that everyone deserves to seek out happiness and stability in their lives.
While these are some of the most glaring issues an unhappy or dysfunctional marriage can cause to children, there are many, many more. The bottom line is that as hesitant as you may be to put your children through a divorce, staying in this kind of marriage is what is actually causing strife and damage to your children, and divorce can be the way to create a new, healthier life for you and your children.
Amicable Divorce Lawyers Ridgewood NJ
As we have discussed in many of our different articles and pages, their is often a negative (and undeserved) stigma attached to divorce. The fact of the matter is that there are a variety of ways for any individual to resolve their divorce without it resulting in a lengthy, expensive, angry, or otherwise difficult process.
For example, Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration, and divorce collaboration are all excellent ways for divorcing couples to communicate and work together in positive ways in order to resolve their divorce. Each of these ADR methods has its own benefits, processes, and considerations so please read our pages on these topics for more information.
Alternatively, if these divorce alternatives do not meet your unique needs or situation (ADR is not for everyone), it is still possible to resolve your divorce through negotiations rather than a court-room battle. The more you and your spouse are willing to compromise on the key issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and marital asset division, the easier it is to create fair, reasonable, and cost-effective divorce resolutions.
In short, there are many ways for your divorce to not have to be a messy or difficult process. If you are worried about the affects a divorce will have on your children, don’t. Instead, worry about the affects your unhappy or dysfunctional marriage will have on your children, as it most certainly will.
Contact Our Hackensack Family Law Firm Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents across Northern New Jersey and Bergen County to resolve their divorce in a manner which meets our clients’ unique needs and concerns, while still avoiding unnecessary, costly, and emotionally trying courtroom battles and litigation. By practicing exclusively family and matrimonial law, our firm is able to provide the kind of highly insightful, effective, and attentive legal counsel that we know is necessary to successfully resolving the critical and life changing issues our clients face.
To speak with a member of our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, any kind of post-divorce or appeals matter, or any other family law issue, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack NJ office at (201) 397-1750.