Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

Beating a Legacy of Marital Failure

Reaping What Was Sown

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Craig H. Kliger, MD

April 2, 2001 -- More than a million divorces occur each year in the United States, and handling a split-up is devastating and demanding for the couples involved. But those with young children have an extra burden: worrying about the effects on their offspring.

First, there's the short-term angst about the effects of divorce. How will your children do in school, with their friends, with adjusting to one parent in the house, with going back and forth between two households? And then there's the "big-picture" anxiety. Will your kids repeat your marital mistakes, since common wisdom holds that we learn by observing? Are you passing on divorce as your children's romantic legacy?

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

Six Surprise Sexy Spots

By Judy Dutton Try these unusual hot zones—yours and his—for an erotic surprise. When you and your guy get frisky, it makes sense to reach for some pretty obvious body parts. But those tried-and-true areas of your anatomy aren't the only places that can get you hot and bothered. Try playing with these six lesser-known zones—and have fun looking for a few unique new pleasure points of your own, too.

Read the Six Surprise Sexy Spots article > >

No, your children aren't doomed for divorce court, according to recent studies conducted by two different teams of researchers. In fact, they may do very well -- perhaps even celebrate a silver or golden wedding anniversary. What matters most, according to one research team, is not so much the marital example you give your kids, but the one-to-one relationship you have as a parent with your child. That's the relationship that will teach them the skills they need to form good romantic relationships later, the team says.

The second team found that the psychological well-being of a child actually improves after a divorce if the household was chaotic because of warring parents.

Parent role vs. partner role

How we learn to form and maintain romantic, intimate relationships has been a focus of researchers for years. The common belief has been that children learn to relate later in life to romantic partners by observing their own parents.

But that's not entirely true, according to Rand Conger, PhD, a sociology professor at Iowa State University and a researcher with ISU's Institute for Social and Behavioral Research in Ames, Iowa. The romantic choices and behaviors of young adults are influenced more by the one-to-one relationships they had as children with their parents than with the observations they made of their parents' marriages, he has found.

Conger and his team came to that conclusion after observing 193 young adults (85 men and 108 women) and their partners in ongoing romantic relationships in 1997. These young adults were the same subjects that Conger and his team began observing in family situations in 1989, when they were just 12 years old, to see what kind of relationships they had with their parents.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
Life Cycle of a Penis
HIV Myth Facts
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Couple in bed
6 Tips For Teens
Close-up of young man
screening tests for men
HPV Vaccine Future