If you asked two different people whether an unhappy marriage equals unhappy kids, you’d probably get two different answers. Some people believe that kids would rather see parents together and unhappy then separate and happy, while others feel that the opposite is true. Who’s right?

What Child Psychologists Say

It’s a well-documented fact that it’s unhealthy for kids to see their parents constantly fighting. Since kids tend to model their future relationships using what they learned from their parents, an unhappy marriage may lead to unhappy adult children.

Some couples are successful at hiding their unhappiness from their children for a certain amount of time, but kids are smart; most eventually figure out that mom and dad aren’t happy together.

The stress people experience in an unhappy marriage can carry over into their parent-child interactions, too. Parents might have less energy to devote to kids, be emotionally burned out or have a hard time switching between “miserable spouse” and “happy parent” modes.

Should You Talk to a North York Divorce Lawyer?

It’s normal to wonder whether or not you should leave an unhappy marriage. In most cases, it’s a good idea to call a North York divorce lawyer. Since most divorce cases have common themes, your lawyer can draw on his or her experience to discuss what might be best for your family. Additionally, he or she can tell you how most couples navigate custody agreements to find the healthiest arrangement for their kids.

Unhappy Marriage, Unhappy Kids: The Bottom Line

Infants and toddlers respond to parental stresses, and the older your children get, the more likely they are to be affected by the happiness level of your marriage. As with any relationship, communication is key; if your kids are old enough, talk to them about how they’re feeling. Their emotional well-being might be a deciding factor in whether or not you choose to divorce your spouse.

If you choose to stay married, set some ground rules with your spouse—including one that explicitly states there will be no fighting in front of (or within earshot of) the kids.

The bottom line? Nobody can choose what’s best for your family like you and your spouse can. As long as you have your kids’ best interests at heart, you two will make the right choice.