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Afraid to Leave the Marriage Because of the Kids?

One of the things that will keep a person trapped in a loveless marriage is concern for the well-being of children born to the couple. When children are involved, divorce becomes even more complicated. Not only do you have to think about the division of property and debt but you must consider the safety and separation of child rearing for all children involved. Where will they live and with whom? How will they take the news? What will be the long term effects on their psychological well-being because of this? All of these questions racing through one’s head is mind-blowing and have left many asking “Is divorce really worth it?”

If you know the marriage is over and cannot be reconciled but are thinking about staying for the kids, here are a few points you need to consider:

#1- Can you, by staying in the marriage, provide your children with a stable, loving, peace-filled home where they grow up seeing two parents who love, respect, and adore each other? Children can sense ‘fake’ miles away. To them, it doesn’t matter if your apartment is small or if you have no extra money to give them. At the end of the day, what every child needs and deserves is a place they can retreat to that is safe, unconditionally loving, filled with laughter and characterized by integrity and truth. Those children need to know that the one place they can always come to for unconditional love and acceptance is home and that can’t happen in a household where the spouses are apathetic or disrespectful to each other (whether said or unsaid).

#2- Are you afraid of what your children will think of you “some day”? Is the idea of a divorce scary because you’re afraid that your children will find out that you are not perfect? Guess what? Whether you divorce or not, that’s going to happen eventually. Children grow up idolizing their parents. To them, their parents are God. But, at some point, they start to grow and observe and what they start to figure out is that their parents don’t know everything, can’t fix all problems and, yes, they make mistakes. For many kids, the dashing of this dream causes them to move their parents from the pedestal of ‘God’ to the underworld of ‘monster.’ It is a normal part of development. This is how children learn that they, not you, are responsible for their own lives. How can they do that if the world revolves around you?

Divorce speeds up the process whereby children learn that their parents are humans and make mistakes. You will not be excommunicated from their lives because divorce is your choice. They may not get it now but, one day, the light bulb comes on and the compassion kicks in and they realize that you did the best you could with what you had. Staying unhappily married because you don’t want them to find out the truth is not the way to go. Why? The truth always comes out, always…

#3- Are you afraid that, if you divorce, your children will succumb to all of the “children of divorce” life side effects (drugs, drinking, teenage pregnancy, promiscuity, running away, gangs, depression, suicide, etc.)? Who’s to say that your child won’t fall prey to any of those even if you stay married?

Contrary to what you’d like to believe, you cannot protect your children from everything. They will have to choose how they respond to every experience of life. It is your job, as a parent, to be available, to make every resource available so your kids have access to therapists, counselors and support services to help them adjust to any and all life changes. But, there’s something you have to always keep in mind: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. If the way your child (especially in the pre-teen and teen years) chooses to cope with your marital situation is by playing the victim and escaping through violent or self-abusive activities, there is nothing you can do to stop it except be there to support and love that child. You are the parent but you cannot be the warden. Sacrificing your life for theirs will not change the outcome if your son or daughter has made a clear choice to blame you for how his/her life is turning out. No matter what you do, it’ll be all wrong.

No matter what you choose to do, the choice is not what’s going to make or break the future of your children. What will decide their fate is the extent to which both spouses maintain a close, loving, supportive relationship with the children. It’s one thing to divorce the spouse. It’s another to divorce the children. Divorce is not an end of their innocence. For so many children living with feuding, unhappy parents, it’s the beginning of their peace.

Think this through knowing that, in all things, you have your children’s best interests at heart.

Source by Kassandra Bibas

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