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Could parental divorce help children avoid their own divorce?

According to a recent study, the answer to the question posed in this headline is yes. If you and your spouse are involved in a high-conflict marriage, divorcing may not just be in your best interest, but in your child's best interests as well.

According to the study, ending high-conflict relationships with a divorce gives children of that marriage a better chance at avoiding their own divorce later in life. The authors of the study believe that it is the continued exposure to conflict that increases the chances of divorce as opposed to divorce itself.

If you are in an unhappy marriage, your children can be significantly affected by that relationship. Even if you think you are shielding your children from the reality of your marriage, kids can easily pick up on emotions like sadness, anxiety, frustration and anger.

Researchers suggest that growing up in an environment with frequent fighting, disagreements, unresolved conflict, tension and potential abuse makes children more vulnerable to being and staying in their own unhappy relationships later on because it diminishes their own conflict-resolution capabilities.

On the other hand, when contentious relationships end with divorce, the children of these relationships fare about as well as children who grew up in low-conflict households in terms of divorce rates. Overall, statistics show a lower rate of divorce for people who grew up in these situations.

Of course, there is no way to predict divorce accurately or guarantee that your kids will eventually be in a happy, conflict-free relationship. However, parental relationships are often an enormous part of how a child builds his or her own relationships, for better or worse.

While there are numerous factors that you need to consider when it comes to divorce, your child's well-being will be one of the most important. If you believe that putting off divorce because you think that staying together will be best for your child, then you may want to reconsider studies like this one and how exposure to high levels of conflict can ultimately affect kids.

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