The idea of staying together for thesake of the kids is an old one, and it's rooted in the thought that their parents' divorce is universally bad for children. It's going to have negative effects, parents tell themselves, so they can't end their marriages. If they do, they need to wait until the kids are out of the house.
But is that actually true?
Some studies have found that, for most kids, it really is not. One study claimed that it found zero negative effects in a striking total of 80 percent of the children examined. This means that the majority of them dealt with it well and did not see long term impacts.
What is important, those experts noted, was the relationships that the kids had with their parents after the split. In cases where they maintained high-quality relationships, the sole factor that their parents were no longer married did not negatively change the children's lives.
Of course, if the parents lost touch with their kids after the divorce or went on to have negative or hostile relationships with them -- perhaps feeling like they preferred the other parent, for instance -- it could adversely impact the kids' lives. Children need the love and support of both their parents. It is fundamental to their development as they grow up.
Do their parents have to be married to give them that love and support? They do not. If you and your spouse are splitting up and you want to put the kids first, make sure you look into all of the child custody options that you have to keep your relationships with them as strong as possible.