By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Is our down-turned economy having an effect on divorce in the U.S. and other nations around the world? While it’s too early for statistical evidence, many Marriage and Divorce professionals word-wide are in agreement. These are tough times.
Professionals are seeing couples who were ready to call it quits postponing the divorce decision due to financial reasons. With food, clothing, vehicle, home and rental pricing at record highs, many are not divorcing because they can’t afford it.
Does this mean couples are finding new ways to get along and reconsider their marriages? In some cases, yes. However, for others it just means adapting to ongoing states of unhappiness, disappointment and frustration.
This, of course, does not bear well for their innocent children. They experience the negative consequences of a distressed marriage. The kids are affected whether the couple splits up or chooses to stay together because of economic factors.
Too many couples are financially dependent on one another to make a break. At the same time, they’ve lost their emotional interdependence. That factor usually helps a couple thrive during outside challenges. Without affection and emotional connection, these couples are basically house-mates sharing a home and living expenses.
You’re a parent first despite your relationship decisions
The problem is that they are also parents. And their children may be even more confused than ever about life at home. Both parents are still married and together – but are they? This is a big concern for therapists, coaches, school counselors and others. It’s disturbing for anyone who understand children’s emotional and psychological needs. This is especially important during times of high stress.
In the past it was common for divorce rates to spike during times of financial insecurity. Back in the recession of 1997 the divorce rate rose close to 20%. However, economists note that during real tough times, like the Great Depression in the 1930s, divorce rates statistically decline. That’s because people can’t afford the luxury of splitting into two separate homes.
There are no immediate resolutions for today’s economic challenges. Or for parents caught up in the whirlwind around the divorce decision. However, staying in a marriage functioning in “form” only can be damaging for the children. Especially when parents ignore the emotional factors that kids need to thrive, feel confident, safe and secure.
Parents: Crucial questions to ask yourself now!
Now is the time to stop and ask yourself some fundamental questions whether staying in or out of your marriage:
- Despite economic stress are we taking the time to give our children the loving attention they deserve?
- Are we as parents providing a secure environment for our children – whether we share the same residence or two separate abodes?
- Are we providing the nurturing, values and personal time our kids need despite our own challenges as adults?
- Are we creating family time rituals with one or both parents so our kids feel we still are a “family” regardless of the form it takes?
- Should we seek professional help to assure our children are feeling safe, secure, loved and peaceful in their home environment(s)?
- Are we being honest about our circumstances without confiding adult details to the kids that would be hurtful or confusing at their age?
- Are we restraining from arguing, badmouthing each other, creating tension, bitterness or other negativity when the children are present?
- Are we reminding our children how much we love them and always will love them despite changes in where and how we live?
How you answer these questions will determine your children’s quality of life whether they’re residing in one residence or two. Always remember, you are parents first. And a couple struggling with marital or divorce issues second. Isn’t that the way it should be?
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love! To get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, and learn about her coaching services, programs and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting issues, visit https://www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.