Staying in an Unhealthy Marriage for Your Kids

Staying in an Unhealthy Marriage for Your Kids—Is it Right?

No one goes into a marriage thinking they will one day come to end, but when a marriage becomes toxic and nothing can be done to savor it, it’s best to call it quits—especially when kids are involved.

Couples often make the mistake of remaining in unhealthy relationships for the sake of their kids, however, this decision can have devastating consequences on the kids and the both of you.

Here are just some of the ways unhealthy marriages impact your kids:

1. You’re Kids Will Be Forever Scarred

Kids don’t want to see their parents fight. Younger children may now always know what’s going on, but they do sense tension. Living in a house where their parents are constantly at each others’ throats or are refusing to talk to each other, causes immense confusion for kids.

In such situations, they are forced to find their own ways to make sense of what’s going on and often end up blaming themselves.

As a good parent, you want your kids to grow up in a loving and safe home; forcing them to stay in a toxic environment is going to scar them for life.

2. You’re Ruining Their Self-Esteem

Unhappy parents tend to let out their frustration on their kids. When a child is being treated like a punching bag, it will begin to take a toll on their self-esteem. Children that are constantly surrounded by negativity tend to act out themselves in a desperate attempt to get attention and to let out some of the built-up anger.

You’re Ruining Their Self-Esteem


We know from the many studies that have been carried out, that children who are raised in conflict-ridden homes struggle with poor self-esteem.

When children are young, they work like sponges; they’ll absorb the negativity surrounding them, and because they don’t have the tools to process such emotions, they’ll internalize them.

For the wellbeing of your kids, it’s better to separate and raise them in a house where they are loved.

3. You’ll Struggle to Give Your Kids The Love They Deserve

Adults tend to underestimate how smart young kids are. As much as you try to hide it, they will see that you’re unhappy and it wouldn’t take them long to figure out that you’re only choosing to stay in the marriage because of them.

When you’re forced to stay in a bad marriage, you do what you can to avoid your spouse. You spend as much time as you can outside the house and when you’re home, you confine yourself to a closed room to avoid unnecessary conflicts. In your attempt to find some peace and quiet in the house, you end up neglecting your kids. Is that how you want your kids to be raised?

All children need love and affection; if you aren’t able to give them that in your home, then it’s probably best to part ways.

Not sure if you’re ready to end things? Consider working with a relationship counselor to help you figure out the best way forward.

Azizeh Rezaiyan is a marriage counselor at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling based in Palo Alto in the Bay Area. She specializes in couple’s counseling, family meditation, anxiety treatments, and other psychotherapy treatments.

Call (650) 206-9973 to book an appointment.

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