The Telegraph today highlights a report, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, into the effects of divorce on children. It reached the conclusion that family breakdown during childhood was “consistently associated with psychological distress in adulthood during people’s early 30s”.
What they don't seem to have considered is the other side of the equation, the effect on children of parents who are constantly rowing and who ought to get a divorce.
Divorce was less common when I was young and the first time I became aware of the subject when I was about 21 and a close friend of mine told me that his parents were getting divorced. His comment was "About time too. They've stayed together 'for the sake of us children', but now my sister is 18 they feel they can split up. If they'd bothered to ask us, we'd have told them to separate years ago, as the constant rows have driven us both to despair".
The conclusions reached in this report are typical of so many reports these days, in that it examines only one side of an issue and reaches the conclusion that "divorce is bad for the children". I suspect that the reverse is true in a significant number of cases. Of course research into the psychological effects of the long term effects on children of parents who were constantly at loggerheads is probably far too difficult, but without such research the findings lose most of their value. Indeed, without such research, the whole report is largely meaningless as everyone has known for years that children are profoundly affected by parental divorce. What's new?
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