Research published this week conducted by the University of Warwick suggests that ‘people who grew up in single-parent families have lower levels of wellbeing and life satisfaction in adulthood’. The research looked at the over 24,000 adults aged 18-66, and identified 641 individuals who spent all their childhood with a single parent and 1539 who spent part of their childhood with a single parent.The co-author of the study said that ‘Individuals brought up by a single parent earn 30% less, are 9% less likely to be in a romantic relationship and have fewer friends’.
In relation to divorce, the study suggests that children from divorced families, have poorer mental health and do not adapt to their social environment as well as children from two-parent families. The experience of divorce may cause emotional distress which means they will grow up feeling dissatisfied with life and unable to form good social skills or meaningful intimate relationships.
It is important to look at these studies and analyse why children from divorced families come under fire time and time again. If the situation is so dire for these children, should unhappy couples stay together so that they do not resign their children to lifelong misery and dissatisfaction? We think not. Staying together in a hateful relationship is more likely to do damage than good. Surely two happy separated parents are better than two miserable ones who are together.
It’s high time that we recognise that divorce is not the issue. Children are not damaged because of their parent’s divorce, in many scenarios, the parent’s separation actually brings about relief to the child and spares them from the animosity that exists at home. The truth is damage comes from mismanaged acrimonious divorce.
When relationships start to break down, couples often question whether they should stay together for the sake of the children. This is something they think long and hard about and almost always delay their separation for many months or even years, for this reason. When the decision to separate is eventually made, couples rarely go on to ask themselves, ‘should we separate/divorce amicably for the sake of the children and this is the vital piece of the jigsaw that they are missing.
Depending on your circumstances, if you are contemplating separation/divorce, it is sensible to consider the children and perhaps attempt a reconciliation. However, once you take the final decision that the relationship is over, don’t suddenly forget your children and what they may be feeling. Think about their best interests, and remember you’re the only ones who can protect them and their future.
An amicable divorce is a vital consideration for separating families. It assists families to divorce without damage. Staying together for the sake of the children won’t change your child’s life for the better but staying friends after divorce will.