Parents shouldn’t stay just for the kids

Noelle Pennyman

My parents constantly fought. I always thought either I or my brothers were the reason. I struggled to make myself better and more behaved so I could make my parents happier. My logic was that if I was the perfect child they wouldn’t fight so much.

Staying with a person and sacrificing your happiness for your child is damaging to all of the people involved. It’s pointless to be in a harmful relationship if the only reason to stay is the child or children.

When a marriage or relationship fails, the glue that tends to hold them together is the children. Regardless of the violent fights, arguments and tears, adults will rationalize they should bear the pain for their children. They don’t seem to realize maintaining a destructive relationship will only further hurt their children.

As a child of an abusive relationship, I can say I would’ve rather had my parents divorce. A lot of anguish could have been prevented if my wish had been granted.

It took me years to realize the reasons for my parents’ fights differed on a daily basis. Sometimes it would be about money, me and my brothers or anything that bothered them. It wasn’t me that made them fight – it was them.

I could have been invisible and my parents would still have fought like cats and dogs. So it was up to my parents to realize they weren’t meant to be together.

At first, I would pray that my parents would stay together because I wanted the “happy family.” But after a long time of realizing they would be happier apart, I prayed for them to get a divorce.

I would ask my mom why she wouldn’t divorce my dad and her reason was always “you need a father.”

Without going into another column topic, my parents’ staying together was not best for me or my brothers. Had they divorced, we could’ve been spared many years of pain and unnecessary fights.

The rising divorce rates could scare people into staying together. People would rather have a broken child than have a divorce under their belt.

According to “The Abolition of Marriage” by Maggie Gallagher, the amount of children living with happily married parents has gone down from the majority in the ’70s to the current 40 percent.

Imagine a child sitting in her room crying her eyes out. She’s praying for the fighting to be over. She’s blaming herself because she thinks she’s the reason for the fighting.

A couple has to come to the realization that divorce is not the end. It could be the beginning. I’m not saying that once a divorce happens the fighting is over. But at least the fighting wouldn’t be a constant. Children would be able to come home to some sort of safe haven rather than a battlefield.

I think parents believe their children, especially younger ones, won’t be able to deal with the trauma of their parents divorcing. Parents need to ask themselves if they are willing to let their children deal with divorce now, or deal with scars of abuse later.

Parents need to give their children more credit. If kids can deal with all of the problems that start arguments in the first place, then they should be able to handle a divorce.

Noelle Pennyman is a junior public relations major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].