A Broken Family is Far Better Than a Broken Home

A lot of people make a big deal about divorce rates in the western world.  But simple logic suggests that the amount of legally failed marriages is far lower than the amount of actually failed marriages.  And I’d be willing to bet your money that the primary cause of this difference is children.

broken family

“We’ll stay together for the sake of the children.”

But, when is “for the sake of the children” no longer to the benefit of the children?  When is a family better off divided than united..?

It’s hard to say, of course.

Who knows, really, but the one in it – the one living it?

They’re hard work.  They’re a lot of work.  And they can suck.

They can.

Cause over a long enough period of time living with another person – spending nearly all your days, and all your life with them, paying bills or not paying bills, chasing kids and running a home – it’s only natural that most people come to hate or resent that person.



Or a lot.

It’s understandable, even – considering the sresses, and responsibilities, and pressures.

So why do they do it, then?

Why do so many stay together when there’s seemingly nothing holding them together?  Why do they surrender their happiness to misery?  Why do they waste what little time they have on a relationship that not only angers them, but hurts them?  What could possibly mean more to them than them Selves?

Umm…their children, of course.

And so by staying in their crappy relationship, the parents are trying to do the right thing for their children.

They’re trying to do what’s best for their children.

They’re trying to maintain a certain continuity in their lives – that their kid can keep the same school, the same friends, the same way of life they’ve known and grown around.

They’re trying to keep it so that their child is able to come home every day to a mother and father like they’ve been taught is best for them.  Trying to make sure that their son can play catch with dad every once in awhile – even though he may treat mom like shit; or that their daughter’s able to go shopping with mom every now and then – even though she may spend half her nights with another dude.

They’re trying to protect them – from the reality that their family is no family at all.

And so they convince themselves that this imperfect situation is the best one.

At least, better than the alternative.

Better than divorce.  Better than lawyers and lawsuits.  Better than shuffling the kids between two places, two parents, two homes.

And so despite it all, they tell themselves: “We’ll stay together for the sake of the children.”

Even though they don’t want it.  Even though they don’t like it.

But is it right?

These parents certainly think they’re doing the right thing.

And if they could live together in some kinda loveless harmony or whatever maybe they’d be right.  If they could maintain their kid’s way of life without hurting it.  If they could simply co-exist at all with their spouse without being at each other’s throats every day for every thing.

But they can’t.

Or else they wouldn’t be considering divorce at all.

Because though there is a definite benefit to the child in having both parents, two incomes, and the certain stability those afford, and though there are things they’re given under those circumstances that they might otherwise be deprived of by their parents splitting, it isn’t everything.

Cause there’s an emotional cost to divorce.  But there’s an emotional cost to doing nothing as well.

There’s legit pain experienced by the child that’s forced to endure their parent’s split – that’s forced to watch their parents divide the life they called their own, and the inevitable vindictiveness and cruelty they show each other as their lives are torn apart and rebuilt.

But…there’s an emotional cost to them staying together as well – to the child that’s forced to hide in their room as their parents yell, and scream, and fight; to the child that’s witness to their father’s violence, or indifference, or cheating, or their mother’s temper, or spitefulness, or cruelty.

Or vice versa.  Or whatever may be the cause of their parent’s problems.

There’s damage done that isn’t so easily undone.  There’s scarring inflicted that isn’t so easily healed.

All because their parents thought they were doing what was best for them – though it turned out to be far, far worse.

But the truth is…

Not every family is stronger collectively.   Not every family’s sum is greater than its parts.  Not every family is better off together.

And while many remain together for all the right reasons, and many split for all the most logical reasons, there exists a great many that remain together for all the wrong reasons.

But a child is not reason enough to stay together when that child is the only reason.

Cause a broken family is far better than a broken home.

Cause one parent struggling to make a life for their child is far better than two doing all they can to ruin everyone’s.

Cause far better it is for a kid to be without their mother or their father for a time, than to be saddled with two who can do no more than argue, yell, blame, and hurt; who make every night at home a hell from which the kid cannot save themselves, a prison from which they cannot escape.

But too many hold on too long.  Too many play the martyr to no one’s benefit.  Too many stay with their spouse for no other reason than that the person they hate is also the mother or father of their child.

All because they think they’re doing what’s best for the kid.  All because they’ve been told, like we’ve all been told, that a complete family is a better family; that having both parents is better than having only one.

But the hope of a traditional family isn’t more valuable than a healthy family – whatever form that family may take.

And the economic and aesthetic benefits of a two-parent home, don’t outweigh the emotional costs and wounds of that home, when the parents hold no love, or care, or respect for one another.

Because the kids notice it.

The kids feel it.

The kids learn it.

And the damage done when kids are forced to hide in their rooms as their parents yell and scream, slam and break, isn’t worth an Xbox on Christmas, or new clothes now and then.  It isn’t worth the scars they’ll bear for life, or the pain they’ll shoulder till their death.

Parents think they can endure their prison to protect their child.  But all they do by doing so – by staying, by remaining, by holding on to a long dead relationsip – is lock their child in their prison as well.

And prison’s no place for a kid…


Share and comment below.  Or regret it for about 5 seconds…

17 Responses to A Broken Family is Far Better Than a Broken Home

  1. downfromtheledge says:

    Even if there is no screaming or yelling, even if it’s only a silent endurance of emotional alienation, the biggest cost to children is to never see a model of love and caring.

    We all think we will grow up and have better relationships than our parents. That we would never settle for what they did. Never tolerate what they put up with.

    Then we unconsciously go out into the world and find ourselves magnetically drawn to the people who feel like “home” to us … no matter how bad that ‘home’ might have been.

    So, yeah. At least give your child a chance of seeing what love is supposed to look like. Otherwise they’ll accept that “this is all there is” like you did.

    • Adam Austyn says:

      Yup. The more obvious examples make for easier case studies (and better writing) but most homes are JUST a step below. A more quiet damage. But just as damaging.

  2. Cindy says:

    Thank you. Just trying to decide if i should leave my relationship. We have a little boy and I stay for him. But our fights and resentment increases each day and I am losing my ability to pretend that all is OK. I owe it to my son to be happy and to give him perhaps a broken home. But a happy home.

    • Adam Austyn says:

      Obviously it’s not my goal to nudge anyone towards leaving another. Just to help them see that there are costs to action and inaction. I hope whatever you choose really does turn out best for all. Thanks for reading, Cindy.

  3. whitexmint says:

    Thank you. I’m a child of a broken home, and I’ve been going through this hell for as long as I can remember. It hurts my brothers and I as much as it hurts my parents. Your entry reflects exactly what I feel and this made me feel less alone. I wish for happiness for my parents; for them to finally get a divorce, but it seems like they will never understand that they are slowly and painfully tearing all of us apart. It is a torture to see the two people whom we love the most fight everyday. And it hurts even more to feel so helpless and trapped.
    Nonetheless, thank you for this entry. 🙂

  4. Anna Oliver says:

    Hello 🙂 I’m just really touched and agree with this article,bcs I’m one of the victim of a broken family. I’m just one of so many children out there that are raised in this ‘hell-like’ home. All I heard everyday are just my parents cursing each other, my dad hit my mom and my mom yelling and crying silently at night.. I hate this situation actually. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one that has to deal with it 🙂
    Could you give some encouragement to me? thankyou

    • Veronika says:

      I know how it feel, God helped me a lot after my parents got separated. There is a thin, but great book from Josh McDowell More than a carpenter – about how Jesus changed himself and lately his abusive alcoholic father – really great and truthful. I think you might find a great encouragement and comfort in it.

  5. Sarah Annisa says:

    read what you’ve written here, I’m trying to be a child who still love my parents. I had to get up and not going to cry again, even though it was very painful. happy to read this. keep the spirit for you 🙂 GBU.

  6. loveisntwar says:

    Thank you so much for writing a sincere article…this article definitely hits close to home. I come from a broken family because of infidelity and I’ve witnessed constant fighting between my parents due to my mother not being able to forget, and my father not sincerely apologizing for his wrong doings. I know they stayed together for the sake of me and my brother but since I’m older now, I wish they would divorce so they could both be free from one another and find true happiness. Just because your parents may divorce does not mean you still can’t be a family, I feel like for certain families, getting a divorce may be the best thing–sometimes living with one another can be like living in hell, something a human being should not have to endure the rest of his or her life on earth. Having witness my family members suffer hurts me tremendously– I just want us to all have peace, and be able to love one another, even if it means my parents seperating.

  7. Cici says:

    Them feels. I don’t think that either is really ideal but agreed. EVERYONE feels the pressure of a strained relationship. That said, I think that both parents should be invested for a child to turn out half alright(ESPECIALLY THE DAD!). Some people are just poison(both together and in general) so this is a realistic take on things. Kudos.

  8. Nancy A Bucca says:

    I am currently finishing a book about a boy from a broken home who gets super powers to save lives and help mend families. I don’t know what it’s like to be from a broken home, but I know how hard it can be when there’s anger in a home or the threat of a breakup. I don’t know all the answers to these situations, so I thought I’d do more research. This site has been informative. Thankyou!

  9. Parker A. says:

    What a beautiful article. I have a 2 year old daughter. Despite of not able to forget things her father did to break the family by cheating (he comes from a broken family) I went on to save it and try to fix if for our daughter by continuing the family. With time things just kept getting worse. Damage was caused to me horriibly and by staying in this relationship I am damaging my daughter. Though I don’t fear ending terms with him, I fear where to begin after this. But I can’t live in that fear and cause her more harm. A broken family is better than an abusive family. And a single parent is better than two quarreling parents. Thank you for the closure

  10. Նա says:

    ”Cause a broken family is far better than a broken home.” Epic..

  11. tory says:

    yes I agree I come from a home where there is always argument. my dad always shout on my mom and keep telling her that she is a burden to him sometimes my dad annoys me to the extent that I feel like giving him a dirty slap but he is my father I cannot do it I know he is seeing someone else but I can’t tell my mom she has suffered enough from that man I just wish he would get out of that house because now I try my best to ignore him. my mom is saying it is the devil in him but I just want him and the devil in him to get the fuck out of that house

  12. John V says:

    To keep the family even the love between the two parent died is the right thing to do. Sorry I do not agree with some of the claims in the article. Why. A broken family experience is likely to create pro-divorce attitude in the child’s own marriage later on. Statistics proven. While I agree, of course, that being drawn into arguments, fighting or even physical fight of the parents as a silent witness of the child hurts and damages its emotional life, there is still the love between each of the parents and the child resp. children. And if the hate, arguments or fighting between the parents are not to the extent of potential physical harmto the child, then it is still better off the family maintains the Status Quo. Divorce and the Life thereafter is far worse in many aspects. Do not prefer Your-SELF, to maintain LOVE means to sactifice yourself. If you believe you and yourself with one or two kids from the broken family will be far better off when doing divorce then you will bitterly find the fruit of your decision later on. To be selfish and prefer yourself than sactifice self to others is definitely a wrong decision.
    I myself am a father of two lovely children which I would do anything for them to grow up in a complete family. I am absolutely convinced that the divorce which my wife intends to do is a wrong thing. But I also know that she prefers rather herself than any sacrifice for the kids, although she presents her kissy love to the small kids in order to manipulate them while massaging their small innocent minds against the father. But real care she falls short to demonstrate. Unfortunately it is always so that the parents get to know their inner cores, attitudes, capabilities and insufficiencies rather late, after they bore children. And then their love slowly dies creating a space for hate, arguments and fighting. If you buy a thing you cannot know how it will really work not only after you bring it home and test it, but rather after some longer time when you will use it and expose to your daily habits. If you believe you will find some other/better love when you divorce, you may be mistaken. True love is a sacrifice.

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