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Conflict may cause more problems than divorce

Most Colorado readers are aware that statistics suggest that children who experience the end of their parents' marriage are more likely to have their own unions come to an end. Recent research takes a fresh look at statistics concerning marriage and divorce, and finds that it may be the level of conflict within a marriage that has more of a negative impact on kids than a divorce. This may come as a relief to those who are considering whether their own marriage is worth saving.

Researchers looked at data collected over a period of 16 years. They found that adults whose parents went through a divorce after years of high conflict did not experience increased levels of divorce within their own lives. In fact, they did not divorce any more frequently than individuals whose parents remained married in a low conflict living situation. The group that did exhibit higher rates of divorce were those lived in homes where conflict was elevated, and where a divorce did not take place.

Kids are highly sensitive to the emotions of their parents. They can sense tension between Mom and Dad, even when the parents try to hide their marital strife. When conflict becomes part of everyday life, things are even more stressful for the kids. Couples who go through years of conflict before finally deciding to divorce are often giving their kids a gift. When both parents are happier and more emotionally balanced, the children benefit.

For those in Colorado who are thinking about divorce, and who are concerned about how that path might affect their kids, research like the study mentioned above can help make it easier to move forward. Kids are able to adapt to a wide range of circumstances, and will often find their daily lives far less stressful when the conflict between parents comes to an end. From that point forward, both parents have the chance to form closer connections with their kids and seek a more fulfilling lifestyle, whether alone or with a new partner.

Source:, "One parent behavior may affect kids of divorce more than divorce itself", Rebecca Harrington, May 22, 2016

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