A new study by Montclair State University researchers says that in marriages with a high degree of conflict, divorce is often better for children than “staying together for the sake of the kids.”
The study analyzed the results of a 10-year national survey of 7,000 married Americans and their children. Parents were first surveyed in 1987 about the level of conflict in the marriage. In 1992-93, both parents and children were surveyed and in 2001-2002, the children were surveyed again and asked about their own happiness and the level of conflict in their own relationships.
Researchers found that children who grew up with parents who argued a lot did better in their own adult relationships if their parents divorced. If the parents stayed together, the children were exposed to more years of conflict and were more likely to experience conflict in their own relationships as adults.The research also showed that in the short term, children of divorce experience a crisis period of one to two years, but then “bounce back” from the divorce. Conversely, the survey also found that adult children of happily married couples do not necessarily grow up to enjoy happy relationships themselves.