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Are Two Happy Homes Better than One Unhappy One?

Divorce has been a taboo in our country for as long as most of us can remember. We grow up in households where we are believed to think that if a couple is married, they are married for seven lives. But sometimes after living together with a person for several years, you realize you are incompatible. But even then our Indian society would look down on separation, especially if the couple is raising a kid.

Many of us have heard several couples talk about how separation or divorce can affect the kid. The common misconception that several individuals possess implies that even if you are in an unhappy marriage, the parents should stay together for the sake of their children. Raising a kid through and after a divorce can get messy. But it gets messier when a child is living in a house with two people in an unhappy marriage as it can affect a child’s mental health more.

Another critical area of research has also shown the negative impact of parental conflict on growing children. Children whose parents argue often tend to do bad academically and more likely to have behavioural issues as well. With this blog, we are in no way trying to glorify divorce or encouraging anyone to leave their marriage. However, we cannot ignore that there are several problems associated with parents deciding to stay together in an unhappy marriage just so that there is a so-called ‘benefit’ for the children.

There are several studies and papers published online about how a divorce can affect the kid or how an unpleasant environment while growing up can shape a kid’s mental health. But a study entitled ‘Are both parents always better than one? Parental conflict and young adult well-being’ talks about the issue we have at hand.

Over 2000, families participated in the study where data was collected from them about the associations between adolescent family experiences and young adult well-being across a variety of different measures, including schooling, substance abuse and family-related transitions. This critical study concluded that ‘while children do better, on average, living with two biological married parents, the advantages of two-parent families are not shared equally by all’. The study clearly suggests that by moderating the effect of conflict during divorce, the kids had minimal impact on the kid’s psychological and overall well-being. Which indeed tells us that divorce can relive the pain, suffering and stress that could otherwise have caused by two unhappy parents in a home.

While it is an understandable and logical explanation as to why both the parents might want to stay together, parents often turn a blind eye towards the harm caused to the child by it being raised in a conflict-ridden household. The best-case scenario, when living in a house with two parents who are in an unhappy relationship, can be that the child goes through awkward and embarrassing interactions. It is, of course, going be a totally different thing if both the parents are willing to work on their relationship, but if either or both of them have given up, then living together under one roof is just going to be detrimental.

Separation or divorce between two parents can be extremely challenging for both parents and the kids. It would be emotionally draining even for everyone involved to handle. But if handled correctly, it can bring a great sense of relief. To go from living in a clashed, complicated, unhappy family, to two distinctively happy ones is a change that most children are happily welcomed. It is also not uncommon for parents to get along and co-parent once they are separated. This makes the entire idea of co-parenting with your ex-spouse more productive and secure. In turn, creates a positive impact on the kid’s emotional and mental health.

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