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C. The Problem With "Doing It For The Kids"
Narrator: This is Science Today. When couples talk about staying together for the sake of their children, what they may not realize is they're really doing their kids a disservice. Carolyn Pape Cowan, co-director of the University of California, Berkeley's Schoolchildren and Their Families Project, says what gets lost in the process of focusing on the children, is focusing on the marriage itself.

Pape Cowan: When parents are talking about doing it for the kids, what we think we see happening is that they're focusing a great deal on what kind of parents are you supposed to be to be the best parent and get a child who's the best adjusted and adapted and who will do best with other children and in school and so on.

Narrator: But what happens is the couple's marriage gets lost in the process.

Pape Cowan: We would just encourage them not to give up everything about their couple relationship for the children. Because actually in the long run what our results show is that that doesn't help the kids. Couples who are more satisfied with their life as partners seem to be more effective in general as parents.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.