“My wife and I are not happy in our marriage. Should we raise our kids first before separating?”

Hi, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live on Facebook like I do every Wednesday at noon to answer your parenting questions
here at Teen Therapy Center in Woodland Hills, California. Let's jump right into this week's
question. My wife and I are not happy in our marriage. We argue all the time and I can't take it
much longer. The only reason we haven't separated yet is because of our kids. We both agreed
a few years back that we should raise our kids first before separating, but I don't think either
of us will make it. Our youngest is only nine. I'm worried a separation or divorce will scar our
kids. What is your professional opinion? So no matter what you do, it's going to affect your
kids. And it's really important to figure out what is going to be best for your kids. And we love
our kids. That's the reason why we became parents. We love our kids. We sacrifice. We put our
kids before ourselves. And it's very noble

and it's wonderful to do that. The problem is we also have to make sure we're taking care of ourselves
too. The best option, and by the way, I just want to point out that my heart goes out to you. This
is a really difficult situation not only for you and your spouse, but for your kids. It's a crummy
situation to be in, but the situation that you are in, so we got to deal with it. The first and foremost,
if there's a chance of saving this marriage, if there's a chance of rekindling what you had.
There's a reason why the two of you got married. There's a reason why the two of you fell in love
and had kids at some point. If there's a beacon of hope somewhere, I think it is incumbent upon
you and your wife to go and get couples therapy, get help, see if you can make this work. Because
the ideal situation is, you and your wife patch things up, you learn to have a healthier, more
respectful relationship, and that is the example you want to set for your kids. If that is all
possible, I encourage

you to pursue that. However, if that is not possible, you feel that bridge has been burned, you
cannot go down that road. You have these two choices of do we stay together in a loveless marriage
or do we break up? So if you decide to stay together, which is an option, can the two of you get along?
Can the two of you be respectful to each other? Be kind to each other? And if you can do that, well
then why can't you fix this marriage? So my hunch is it's probably not going to last. Usually
what happens is there's more resentment. It keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and
more resentment and then something or something happens or someone does something that it
just goes beyond the line and cannot be forgiven and all hell breaks loose and there's this war
and the kids are stuck in the middle and we don't want that. So I've seen families who have been
able to stay together and you know just a co -parenting relationship. I think that's a rare exception.
You're already saying in this letter

here, this email, that you're youngest is nine and you don't think you've got another nine years
you guys can make it. So if couples therapy is not an option, you guys can't work this relation
about, I encourage you to work towards a separation while hopefully the two of you have some
shred of respect for each other. And the difficult thing is with this is divorce is hell. Divorce
is tough, is ugly, it is nasty, and people forget about the other person. Empathy is out the window,
and as soon as money comes in, custody issues come in, and the claws come out on both sides, all
sides. And again, the kids are the biggest victims. So remember that you are stuck with this
ex -spouse the rest of your life. Now you may think, oh once we sign that dotted line, once that
judge stamps paper, I'm done. You are not done. You are stuck with this person not only till your
kids hit 18, but the rest of lives. Because there's gonna be birthdays every year. There's gonna
be graduations. There's gonna be engagement

parties. There's gonna be all these things that go through. And you are still stuck with another
parent to co -parent with them. And if you can't find a way to do that in a manageable, respectful
way, your kids are the ones who suffer. So, trying not to scar them? Too late. The scarring will
be there. It's just depending on what you want the scarring to be? How deep do you want the scarring
to go? And the better relationship you have with your spouse or ex -spouse, the less likely there's
going to be that scarring. So figure out how, what is the situation like where the two of you get
along the best? And if you can find that, if you can find a way to get along the best way, whether
that's you guys separate, you guys like, thank you Shari for chiming in. Mediation, absolutely.
Mediation helps. Hopefully you guys can go through that way and go through that process in a
respectful way. I keep kind of hitting that because I think it's really important. Myself and
many other therapists, we see

families go through divorce and it's a battle of attrition and everyone loses. So I really encourage
you to remember to put your kids first and that doesn't mean attack the other spouse and make
that person the better one. That puts your kids first. That doesn't. It's about finding a way
to have a middle ground where you guys can get along and put your kids needs over your needs because
they didn't choose this. They are innocent bystanders in all this. For more information I have
a link in the text below about an article read a few years ago called co -parenting with your hated
ex -spouse that may apply in this situation also. If you love these questions and you have a question
of your own you can always email us at tips on teens at teen therapy center dot com Or you can just
direct message us right here on Facebook. Next week we've got a great question, a Father's Day
question, about a father who wants to rekindle his relation with a son and finding that he's
struggling with that. So we're

going to address that next Wednesday at noon here on Facebook Live. Thanks again for watching.
My name is Kent Toussaint and I'll see you next Wednesday at 12. Bye bye.

Relationships aren’t easy! There’s a reason divorce rates are still fairly high and one of the biggest concerns parents have is how divorce or separation will effect their children. This week’s Tips On Teens question touches on this topic. Here it is:

“My wife and I are not happy in our marriage. We argue all the time and I can’t take it much longer. The only reason we haven’t separated yet is because of our kids. We both agreed a few years back that we should raise our kids first before separating but I don’t think either of us will make it. Our youngest is only 9. I’m worried a separation or divorce will scar our kids. What is your professional opinion?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.