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Should You Stay Together for the Kids?

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In the wake of the John Edwards affair, more and more people are talking about divorce and whether it's better to stay together for the kids. We got to the bottom of it-- surveying over 500 divorced parents, as well as children of divorce, to find out its true impact on parents and children.

john edwards and elizabeth edwards.jpg

In part one of our two-part series, we reveal the results of our divorced parents survey. PLUS, three moms give us a personal, inside look into the breakups of their marriages.

Here, our findings:

  • Stay together for kids? How the split will affect the kids is obviously something parents think about before deciding to go their separate ways. But 78% of parents who are divorced say parents shouldn't stay together for the sake of the children.
  • What would they change if they did it all over again? 61% of parents say they'd have gotten divorced earlier if they knew then what they know now. Just 30% say they wish they'd tried harder to stay together.
  • What causes divorce in the first place? 41% of divorcees say money problems or a cheating spouse led to their split.
  • What's the worst part about it? Surprise -- it's not how the kids reacted. 36% of divorcees say the worst part of divorce is feeling like a failure. Just 23% say the worst part of divorce was how the children handled the split.
  • The biggest eye-opener from the split? Certain things definitely surprised our respondents about divorce. 42% said they were most shocked by how quickly their in-laws turned on them or how much the divorce cost them (21%). For some, absence made the heart grow fonder: 18% said they were most shocked by how much they missed being married. Just 14% said that their kids' reactions surprised them most.

For family therapist Shannon Fox's take on our survey results and first-person stories from divorced moms, keep reading.

next: Stefani Has a Little L.A.M.B.
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anna August 23, 2008, 1:47 AM

people should never stay together just for the kids, a bad marriage where both parents are fighting or one of the spouses sneaks out at night is not a good example for the kids. When their kids watch this they will have a warped idea as to what a marriage is suppose to be and what they should put up with in marriages.

Rosalind Sedacca August 24, 2008, 12:27 PM

For me, staying togehter for the sake of the kids was making things worse. I tried that for close to a decade.

My own experience ended up being quite successful for our entire family. It ultimatley led to my writing a guidebook for parents on how to create a storybook with family photos and history as a successful way to have the tough break-the-news conversation.

I’m now recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce and my new book is How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love! What makes the book unique is that I don’t just tell parents what to say. I provide customizable templates to say it for them!

Therapists, attorneys, mediators, educators and other professionals from around the U.S. and beyond have endorsed the book, attesting to the value of my fill-in-the-blanks, age-appropriate templates. Six therapists contribute their expertise to the book, as well. My goal is for divorcing couples to stop, talk and create a plan before having that crucial “divorce” talk with their children. I hope, for the sake of their kids, they will decide to move ahead in creating a child-centered divorce.

For free articles, ezine and other valuable resources on this topic, visit

Best wishes,
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Anonymous August 25, 2008, 1:50 PM


John Casy December 9, 2008, 9:25 AM

Couple should never stay together for the sake of the kids. The hell with children. Mom and dad need to be happy and find the right partner. If the children want to blame the parent for the divorce they need to blame mom. If the wwife is good in bed dad would still be there.

Mike C. December 10, 2008, 7:47 AM

Funny how you don’t ask the chidren any of these questions, just the adults.

I’ve known many kids of divorced families who wish their parents had stayed togetehr. My own parents’ relationship wasn’t all that great, but they persevered in their commitment to each other (and to us), and we all benefitted from that.

That example has provided me a good blueprint for how to make my own marriage work (30+ yrs.)

Look at Mr. Casy’s 12/9 comment. This is the kind iof self-centered attitude that causes so many problems in our society that we all see and pay for on a daily basis.

Mike C.

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