Only children, in particular, may have a more difficult time adjusting when their parents divorce, because they may experience more stress than a child that is sorting through the experience with siblings.
Elementary school age (6–12) This is arguably the toughest age for children to deal with the separation or divorce of their parents.
Children Affect Happiness
In terms of happiness, a compelling argument for having an only child comes from science that strongly indicates that mothers with one child are happiest.
“Probably the only ages where you would say it has no meaningful impact is under two,” he explains. That's largely connected to a child's developing cognitive abilities before 3 years old. “Even 2-year-olds have memory, so they're aware of the change on an emotional level rather than a cognitive level.
Is it always best to stay together for the kids? The short-term answer is usually yes. Children thrive in predictable, secure families with two parents who love them and love each other. Separation is unsettling, stressful, and destabilizing unless there is parental abuse or conflict.
Research shows that about 80 percent of children of divorce adapt well and see no lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health.
The truth is, there's no reason to believe that staying together at any cost is better for children than divorcing. In fact, when parents who are unhappy together and engage in unhealthy relationship habits stay together “for the kids” it can often do more harm than good.
American studies mirror our findings. A 2002 study found that two-thirds of unhappy adults who stayed together were happy five years later. They also found that those who divorced were no happier, on average, than those who stayed together.
Children who live in homes with a lot of arguing, hostility and discontentment may be at a higher risk for developing mental health issues and behavior problems. Consequently, following a parental separation, it's normal for kids to struggle with their feelings and their behavior immediately afterwards.
One of the scariest statistics I read after our daughter was stillborn was that up to 80 percent of marriages end in divorce after the loss of a child.
Modern science suggests only children are exceedingly normal. Studies that go back to the 1980s show there are no set differences between singletons and children with siblings, aside from onlies having stronger bonds with their parents.
Grow your family to at least four children! According to a study out of Australia's Edith Cowan University, parents with the most life satisfaction (which means those who are the happiest) are those that have four or more children.
Having two children reduces mortality risk. Three different studies looked at thousands of older adults and found the same thing: two kids was the sweet spot for health. The risk of an early death increases by 18% for parents of an only child. Also, the risk is higher for parents of three or more kids.
The majority of divorces affect younger children since 72 percent of divorces occur during the first 14 years of marriage. Because a high percentage of divorced adults remarry, and 40 percent of these remarriages also end in divorce, children may be subjected to multiple family realignments (Cohen 2002).
There is no doubt that the conflict and chronic stress involved in divorce is one of the leading causes of trauma in young children and a very significant ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience).
The study found that on average unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married when rated on any of 12 separate measures of psychological well-being. Divorce did not typically reduce symptoms of depression, raise self-esteem, or increase a sense of mastery.
In fact, from a child's perspective, divorce represents a loss of stability, and more importantly, a loss of a united family. Consequently, it is not surprising that a divorce can cause a range of emotional responses in kids including everything from anger and frustration to anxiety and sadness.
Researchers have estimated that the period of adjustment for families can range anywhere from one to three years, and sometimes even as long as five, depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. It is important for parents to realize children will have different types of reactions.
According to various studies, the three most common causes of divorce are conflict, arguing, irretrievable breakdown in the relationship, lack of commitment, infidelity, and lack of physical intimacy. The least common reasons are lack of shared interests and incompatibility between partners.
On average, a third of divorced couples regret their decision to end their marriage. In a 2016 survey by Avvo.com, researchers interviewed 254 women and 206 men and asked how they felt about their divorce. They found out that 27% of women and 32% of men found themselves regretting divorce.
Worryingly, many experts doubt that this decision is actually better for the kids in the long run. Surprisingly, a survey recently discussed in a British newspaper reported that 25 percent of all married couples say they are only together for the sake of their children.
Nearly half of married couples are only staying together because of the kids, according to research. A study of 2,000 married adults found that while 77 per cent describe their relationship as 'comfortable', 15 per cent find it repetitive.