In the light of the latest splits witnessed in the Hollywood limelight, I have decided to write about how parents’ divorce can affect their children’s marriage perspectives, from both a quality pespective and a length in time perspective.
Just yesterday, a famous couple who lasted over a decade in the celebrity spotlight, announced its split. Actress Naomi Watts has parted ways from her long-time partner, actor Liev Schreiber. Declarations from earlier years show that the two have had initiatives of tying the knot, but they did not succeed because, as they presented the situation, they did not want to rush things. „My mother married twice and had two divorces” Watts told Parade magazine in early 2009. „And Liev comes from the same kind of background”, she added at the time.
Celebrities or not, people who have come to an adult age and are weighing the choice of marriage, are greatly influenced by the relationship their own parents have modelled. Here is how parents’ divorce affects children’s marriage perspectives:
· Divorce produces trauma in the child’s life when it occures. Don’t necessarily think about overdramatic behavior from the child’s part. Some kids appear to not be bothered by the changes that take place in the home, but they communicate their distress in other ways. They may get worse grades in school, or prefer to stay significantly more in their room, or to communicate less. Or they become angry and defiant.
· According to how parents handle the difficult period of separation and divorce, the child learns and understands certain behavioral types from the male and a female individuals. To be clearer, he sees how mom is behaving with dad and viceversa and takes that kind of interaction as the truth that he integrates. That is the „normal” he will be functioning after in his adult years. If the dad has left the family home, the child, growing up, will either expect the partner to leave, or will leave before the partner has the chance of doing so.
· People tend to repeat behaviors that they have seen consistently during their childhood and teenage years. Even if they may perceive some behaviors and damaging, it will always be easier for them to stick with „what they know”, rather than step outside the comfort zone and learn new, better ways to deal with situations. This translates into the perception that it is better to separate, or get a divorce, when things go south, for two partners who come from broken homes themselves.
· The fourth perspective seems to contradict the third one, but they have the same root. If the child’s psychological matrix leads him into adulthood wanting to avoid the parents’ „mistakes” at any cost, you may be looking at that kind of adult that will never want to get married. Of course he may not say that, and may actually want a good, blooming romantic partnership. But out of fear of making the wrong choice and ending up divorcing the other one, he may think and rethink and overthink marriage.
Can a child that comes from a divorced family make it as an adult in a good long marriage? Yes. Psychologists believe that there are several factors that can contribute to rising the chances of a long-lasting marriage. One „ingredient” is insight. The ability of taking a step back and see what your role is in a tense situation leads to a better understanding of what you can do to help difuse that situation. Another aspect that helps is the background of your partner: if his parents are still together and have a good marriage, then chances are he has learned about how things have to be dealt with in order for two people to stick together.