Study: Staying Together 'For the Kids' Not Always a Good Idea

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, In The News, Weird But True

Maybe divorce is best for everyone involved. Credit: Getty Images

Sure, you and your spouse are constantly at each other's throats. You used to call each other "sweetheart," but now you are known to each other as "pig face" or "slimeball," and screaming has become your native language.

Still, you really ought to stay together, you insist. Think of the children -- you want to set a good example.

Then again, there are all sorts of ways to set an example.

Constance Gager, a sociologist and associate professor of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, conducted research and found that children having successful marriages later in life doesn't depend on their parents staying married.

It depends on how parents treat each other -- even if they do get divorced.

Previous research indicated that children from what we used to call "broken homes," are more likely to get divorced themselves. However, according to Gager, that's not necessarily true.

Gager teamed up with Scott Yabiku, an associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University, and Miriam Linver, an associate professor of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University, to take a deeper look.

They compared adult children who grew up in high and low conflict families and whether or not their parents were divorced. Turns out the children of parents who had cordial marriages, followed by cordial divorces, are more likely to have successful relationships.

On the other hand, children whose parents bickered and bickered but never divorced are less likely to live happily ever after.

"We find that adult children exposed to high conflict and whose parents divorced are less likely to experience a cohabiting or marital break up compared to those who grew up with high conflict parents who remained married," Gager explains in the press release.

"Our research suggests that 'staying together for the sake of the children' may be misguided if children are exposed to high parental conflict."

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