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Divorce: Is it in our genes?

People who grow up with divorced parents often say that they want to avoid raising their own kids in a similar situation. Unfortunately, this could be harder than you think thanks to the fact that research shows a higher likelihood of divorce among children of divorced parents.

This connection could be even stronger than previous studies have shown, too. In fact, according to a recent study, divorce could be in our genes.

Nature vs. nurture

Currently, people believe the challenges, lifestyle and environment of divorce are the reasons why children of divorce are more likely to divorce. However, this idea was challenged in the recent study.

The study looked at children who were adopted as well as their biological and adoptive parents. If the current assumptions were accurate, the adopted children would resemble their adoptive parents' in terms of marriage and divorce.

However, the study showed that there was a stronger resemblance between the adoptees and their biological parents with regard to divorce. This, the study authors argue, suggests that genetic factors may be stronger in the so-called transmission of divorce than the rearing environment. 

How parents can use this information

It might be difficult to see how this study and others like it affect us on a personal, individual basis. What we might take away from this, though, is an opportunity to learn from our parents -- and teach our kids -- in a different way. 

If you are divorcing, for instance, you might feel overwhelmed trying to shield your kids from the realities of a divorced household so that they don't find themselves in the same situation years from now. Rather than worry excessively about that, though, you might instead focus on helping them strengthen their communication and problem-solving skills, for instance.

The truth is that no matter what these studies find, there is no magic solution or statistic that can definitively protect people from the realities of divorce. 

However, whether you are trying to avoid divorce or you have already decided to end your marriage, support and guidance can be crucial in helping you protect your best interests and your future. 

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