Divorce, it is continuously claimed, has a substantial and long-lasting effect on any children that may be involved. It is a consensus which was reinforced earlier this week following new research into this area having been published.
The paper, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and prepared by a collection of senior academics, revealed that children of divorce were more likely to suffer psychological distress during their early 30s, and also that families’ living arrangements could have an effect on children’s physical as well as their mental health.
Such findings have been made and publicised before, of course, and such findings have been challenged by politicians, social scientists and, indeed, divorcees – so much so, in fact, that you cannot help but suspect that these findings will be subject to heavy scrutiny, also.
Their retorts will take the standard form: ‘better to grow up in a single family than with unhappy parents,’ ‘divorce, if handled correctly, will have little effect on any children involved,’ and so on. Ultimately, all that is clear is that experts cannot agree on whether or not divorce will have substantive and enduring consequences on any children that may be involved.
So what are we to conclude? What, exactly, are unhappy spouses with children to do? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.
Whilst this is a conclusion that may perturb many parents that are considering divorce, it is important not to mislead or cajole such individuals. There is a very reasonable chance that divorce will have a significant effect on children, but it is also feasible that, if the divorce is handled well by parents that negative outcomes – particularly lasting ones – can be negated. Both of these points must be given due consideration by any parent considering the process of ending their relationship with their spouse and co-parent.
It would be ideal, of course, for Quickie Divorce to provide a definitive answer. To claim outright that divorce is certain to or guaranteed not to have a substantial long-term effect on the children that are involved, but to do so would be both uninformative and, indeed, irresponsible.
Any parent that is considering divorce should evaluate their situation and consider what, in their opinion, is best for their children. Under certain circumstances, it will indeed be best for the children involved. In others, it will not.
So, pay heed to these surveys, but do not view them as conclusive. Divorce is complex and, ultimately, it is simply not possible to determine how it will affect you, your spouse or your children.
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