As parents of biracial children we go out of our way to be sure they do not become a “statistic”. Sometimes that means staying in a less than perfect situation for ourselves. Many times we are faced with being in a relationship that is toxic to us, but the other parent is a wonderful mother or father.
As a parent we “make the sacrifice” and stay in it for our children. This is especially true if we came from broken homes, or if the parent being compromised emotionally/physically may fear losing the child/children to the more financially and geographically stable parent should they leave.
This is a complicated situation and many parents deal with it every day. Our children are not only smart, but they are also resilient. They see it if mom and dad do not particularly like one another. They see if one of their parents are hurt, and they see who is doing the hurting. They are also learning about acceptable behaviors and boundaries in their future relationships. This is why age appropriate communication with your child is important. Finding a way to communicate (in a healthy manner) with the other parent is also important.
Most of the time what it comes down to is that we don’t stay “for the children” but so we are not separated “from the children”.
Sure, there are a great many benefits that will come from having both parents in the home. Still, in most cases the two individuals attempting to co-parent but who have only resentment and disdain towards one another will clash.
A lot of times children are in the middle even if we think we are hiding it well. They end up feeling torn between the two people who they love more than anything in the world. Their environment becomes one when they feel the tensions, sadness, unrest and it becomes an uncomfortable or depressing reality for our babies. How could it not?
So, yes; It hurts children to not have both parents in the home, but it also hurts them to have two parents in the home who are always miserable. Divorce or separation will be hard on the children if it is what their parents choose to do. However, it will also come to them as a relief in some sense that it is not a constant battle or threat of an impending episode.
If you find yourself in a debate within yourself whether you should stay or go, here are a few things to keep in mind.
We have to truly evaluate ourselves, honestly.
Our children actually know more and pick up more than we think they do. They too are going through their own hell inside if there is hell in the home. Do you want their childhood memories to be of days of tension filled silence or their being a witness to the bitter arguments that surely will arise? We can co-parent with our children’s other parent without living under the same roof. Are we being selfish, or are we really doing it for them? Our children have a voice as well, and we cannot forget they too are a part of this whole situation.
We have to be honest with ourselves and our partner whether or not there is a future “together”.
Ignoring the fact that a marriage is failing won’t make it better. We have to find some line of real communication and come to some grown up decisions. At the end of the day the healthy choice for a child is two parents who are happy separated rather than miserable together.
I am not trying to encourage anyone to leave their partner. I certainly am not qualified to do that. I am battling my own problems and searching for answers. What I am saying is we really have to evaluate things and do what is best for our children rather than holding them, and ourselves, prisoner due to the fear of living separately from them.
The answer to whether or not you should stay together for your children is in most cases going to be no.
Staying together for the children only leads to their feelings of guilt and them having tarnished childhood memories. In the end they are being robbed of their entitled peace and happiness.
If there is a sliver of hope that your relationship can recover you most definitely should make a honest attempt to recover it. However, if it has gone on too far and for too long the best thing you can do for all parties involved is to face the fear and find your true path. Each family’s answer will be different and found only through opening the lines of communication.
We welcome your comments about raising Biracial Children.