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Staying together for the sake of the children

I saw this was the topic on This Morning, new research shows that if your child suffers from some sort of psychological problem they 'grow up to earn as much as 30 per cent less in their lifetime than those who hadn't suffered any problems' such as parents’ divorce.

I always find this interesting as I have met a few people in the past whose family had an amicable break up yet they still seem to use their parents break up as an excuse not to work or succeed in life, when in fact they use it for attention and to cover up the fact they are just a little bit lazy. I was a recruitment consultant and believe it or not a number of candidates used their parents break ups as the reason they didn't work!

Please note that I did say amicable break up, I understand that if a child has had a particularly hard upbringing then it could affect them in the future.

I was bought up just by my mum and I wouldn't have changed it for the world, I really can honestly say I had a very happy childhood, we didn't have a lot of money but I was never aware of that, my mum made my childhood as happy and as fun as it could possibly be and I think that definitely has given me the best start in life, I never had any worries I just enjoyed being a child.

Surely being brought up by parents who have separated is far nicer for the child then to listen to the parents arguing and 'staying together for the sake of the child' who would be more effected by the fact that they are then stuck in the middle? I know which one I would prefer.

If my mum had stayed in a relationship just for my sake I would have been very upset to think she had been so unhappy for all of those years. I have always been successful in every job that I have had, so has my partner whose parents separated when he was 7 years old. He is very happy as his lovely parents found fantastic partners who have been a big part of his life too and he wouldn't change it for anything.

I think the problems arise when the parents who split do not get on and a child feels forced to take sides and hears one parent bad mouth the other, no child should have to be put under that pressure and it is not fair but we all know that it does happen.

Nick and I do bicker but it is never nasty and we would never have an argument in front of Tillie, nor would we disagree to when one of us has said no to Tillie to undermine each other, we stick together and work as a team if we disagree with what has been said we would mention it later and then talk about it (please don't think we are a perfect couple as we are far from it! our conversations are often amusing and not very constructive but it suits us just fine.)

I guess it is ok for me sitting here to say I would separate from my partner but to actually do it and for parents to agree that the time has come to separate must be incredibly hard for all involved and i guess once the decision has been made there isn't much chance of going back as this could cause even more confusion for the child. There are many families where this works fantastically and the parents can stay friends for the sake of their child and make it as easy as possible for everyone involved.

Is this new research just giving people another excuse to blame things on their past? Would this research influence you as a parent?


  1. I suspect they wanted to sell paper inches by making mums feel bad again. I grew up in a "bad" area of town, with just my mother around. I had a fantastic childhood, went to uni, had a fab career and now on a break. Many many more like me. I think people use divorce as an excuse yes, far to often.

  2. Hi, wanted to say that life is hard sometimes when you've been together a long time (15 years!). I know friends who stay together because of the children and friends who haven't. It goes against all your instincts to do something that hurts your children .. even if it might make you happier but who knows what the right decision is .... J x

  3. I don't believe that parent's should stay together for the sake of the children. I have seen plenty of examples where children who come from an 'intact' family still grow into dysfunctional adults. I think that a child raised in a single parent household can fare just as well, if not better. I think if there were less fighting b/c mom and dad were apart, I think the child would be much more healthy.

  4. I will be perfectly honest with you. I did stay in a unhappy marriage for the sake of my children. It eventually destroyed me, I had no choice but to leave in the end. I choose to stay thinking the children needed their father. I grew up without mine ( an alcoholic who was no good for nothing) and had always promised myself my own kids would have the proper mummy and daddy family I never had. My husband was a good father but was not a good husband. I despised him towards the end of our marriage for many reasons. The kids did not get the dream upbringing I dreamt for them, it was a domestic violence home and as much as they kids were shielded from this, they still knew “something” was not right. My own mother stayed with my father till I was 12, old enough to know he was no good before leaving him ( not that we saw much of him anyway), I was brought up to accept the choices I had made. I had nowhere to go, no support. I stayed from fear. I am not proud of staying in such a relationship but I am learning to forgive myself for it. I would never recommend staying for the sake of the children to anyone. If you are not happy, then your kids know this too. To walk away and be on your own but be happy is the best thing you can do for your children.

  5. I suppose every situation is different. I get frustrated with adults who use their parents' break-up as an excuse for failure. My parents split very UNamicably. But if they'd stayed together and fought, life would have been much worse. Never occurred to me to play the victim - I just got on with what I wanted to do in life. My younger sister, however, has been unlucky in love and never really stuck with a career, and blames our Dad for all of this.
    There are children out there who suffer real abuse and neglect.
    I think if parents can, they should do whatever makes for a happier household, and keep their animosity away from the children. Life isn't perfect, but as long as you don't put your kids in the centre of a pitched battle, they should be OK.

  6. Great blog!

    If we really want to put our children first, then surely it's kinder to part amicably, while reassuring them that as parents, we still love them.

    While my husband and I are very much together, our children are aware of Uncles and Aunties who have had to separate. We've been to their "second" weddings, so we've had to explain why they were remarrying. We've simply said that sometimes, mums and dads can't stay together, because they argue too much! I think it's always best to be truthful.

    But it's tricky though, kids will still wonder if they did something to make mum or dad want to leave!

  7. Thank you for all of your comments, it really is a hard one, a special thank you to The Real Supermum for such an honest comment.


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