Children are more well-adjusted when they live with both biological parents (theglobeandmail). But new research shows that these advantages are not sustained in high conflict marriages. The study, coming out of Cornell University in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, found that teens whose parents stayed together even though they didn’t get along binge drank more often. They were more likely to have sex at an early age, smoke cigarettes and try marijuana. These children’s grades are lower, equal to those of children whose parents have split. The National Survey of Families and Households in the United States interviewed 2,000 families. It was this data researchers used for the study. The University of Los Angeles found in another study that children who lived in homes where arguments often occurred scored the same as those who grew up with a mother and step-father, or in a single mother household. The arguments these parents were having were common topics of derision such as money, in-laws, spending time together, sex, the kids, and household chores.
One thing these studies failed to consider is whether or not the arguments took place in front of the children, or behind closed doors. But either way, these studies blow away the old cliché of “staying together for the sake of the children.” In fact, some researchers believe that the way the family unit is structured is nowhere near as important as love, support, stability and caring in a child’s life. Counselors say that those who grow up in argumentative households are more likely to become depressed. The worst type of conflict is when the children are caught in the middle of an argument. Of course, a certain amount of conflict is present in any relationship, but children learn conflict resolution techniques from their parents. So it’s important to display the right way to fight, fighting fairly, not hitting below the belt, proper negotiation techniques, give and take, and problem solving together. All of these techniques will help the child as they grow older, both in their relationships and in their professional lives as well. All parents fight sometimes. It’s important to consider what impact it has both on your relationship and on the children. But realize that what you do affects them deeply and move forward in the right way, for their sake.