Couples in low-conflict but unhappy marriages often are
well advised to try to keep the family together.

During tough times in the sports and business worlds, participants
often "take one for the team." In the smaller units known
as families, parents at odds often are faced with a similar quandary:
whether to "take one for the teens."

Whether the unhappy pair are Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren or a
working-class couple in Cottage Grove, the question of whether to
"stay together for the sake of the children" is fraught
with complexities well beyond the emotions of the principals.

But experts agree on one thing: It's up to the parents to explore
all aspects of everyone's future, make the best call and set the
right tone.

"Kids are very resilient. They can deal with any reality as
long as they know what the reality is," said Judy Dawley, a
child psychologist in Rochester. "First and foremost, the kids
have to know it's not their fault. You cannot make the child
responsible for the adult relationship."

Even with less stigma attached to divorce than in the past, the
consequences are enormous in the short term for all concerned, and in
the long term for those in their formative years. All too often,
Dawley noted, the parents' troubles "become the template for the
child's dating relationships and future marital relationship."

The children of divorced parents are at least 50 percent
more likely to get a divorce than those from an unbroken home, said
Penn State Prof.Paul Amato, a nationally renowned expert on
parent-child relationships. When both the husband and wife come from
divorced families, the odds of divorce are 200 percent higher.

For that reason, parents should be very cautious about divorcing
for what William J. Doherty calls "soft reasons."

"Research shows that in marriages that are unhappy
but not high-conflict, the children do better when those parents stay
together,"said Doherty, a professor in the University of
Minnesota's Department of Family and Social Science. "And the
majority of divorces are low- to moderate-conflict.


Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune –