Children of divorce - ask agony aunt problem pages free online. How much their parents' separation and ultimate divorce affects them will depend very much on two things. Their age and how loving and comforted their background is with people around them supporting them and trying to protect them from unnecessary hurt. Years ago the belief was that no matter how bad the marriage as the couple should stay together just for the sake of their offspring but now common sense prevails. People realise that there is no point in being unhappy or arguing when this ultimately hurts their offspring a lot more than if they are with one parent and see the other too. Doctors and psychologists agree that provided they can see both and have love from them both and both make time to see them and care for them they should be alright. The downside to it might be that they may think it is normal to treat relationships as short term and casual with no intention of trying to make the partner happy or sticking with it for life even if fairly happy.
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The thing is you cannot predict how much these things affect them. You can take two of about the same age and with the same amount of support and backing and find that one finds it very hard and the other sails through it very easily. Probably because some are tough cookies and others are thin skinned. The thin skinned ones might do well to go through a problem and toughen up? Because one day they will have to. If they have a family that care about them they are better off going through a problem knowing they have a lot of love all around them rather than being pampered and protected from any emotional upsets and then one day when they are much older to get hurt for the first time and not be able to cope or even know how to respond. And when that happens - as an adult - they will have less support around them too, probably. The thin skinned one is usually the one who is most intelligent and quiet and is easily affected by changes or upsets anyway and that can often stay with them throughout their lives no matter what age they reach. One day they might be going through their own relationship break up. Going through something similar when younger can actually be an eye opener and a help. Use our problem pages, use the forums, get free help online or pay for a 1 2 1 session with an agony aunt.
But the off spring which are not extremely vulnerable inside can end up going off the rails maybe drinking, stealing, looking for love in all of the wrong places. It is not uncommon for girls to end up throwing themselves at men, especially older ones who they see as potential father replacements. The boys might likewise get involved in all sorts of mischief which they may not have otherwise. The effects of divorce might be awful for them but it is still better for them and all others now and after - in the long run.
But in the long term for the sake of the whole family if a couple are unhappy or even if one of them is unhappy it is better for them to split up than to stay together. You cannot shield your offspring from hurt forever and if you care about them that much that you truly do want to stop them being upset they are far better off than most anyway.
Another thought is this. Any agony aunt will agree with me, whether they work face to face or 1 2 1 online. You can get free help online or you can consult one and ask them personally for a private session. Most of all an agony aunt is looking to support you and understand you. If a daughter or son one day realises you stayed, or your excuse for staying, is for their sake. They will feel very guilty and yet they did not cause it. Many an adult has used this as an excuse for not getting divorced when the true reason was something totally different such as lack of courage or dithering. It is actually very selfish to supposedly stay for the sake of a young one and for them to realise this and bear the emotional brunt of it at some time. There is another point too. Many have said they have stayed for the sake of the young ones and then later on when the young ones have grown up and flown the best they end up bitter and in a dead stale relationship which they loathe yet because of their health or other problems they are then totally unable to change things or leave and trapped in that situation, whereas it would have been easier to go when younger.
I have spoken to a lot of people who have stayed and then years later had a re think and regretted it. But their options are far more limited when they get to that stage. In the meantime the kids suffer. They long for their mom and dad to be like they used to be. They want to be in a happy family unit. They want the past back. They want laughter and stability so if the parents stay together supposedly for the sake of the kids and that is not there they are not achieving their goals. The kids always worry that the next argument or stony silence will lead to the inevitable break up. And many of these kids then grow up to be scared stiff of getting into a committed relationship because they think it is normal for them all to go wrong.