STUDY: For children, there is NO 'amicable divorce'
By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
"Amicable divorce," which usually refers to the dissolution of a marriage without bad feelings or upheavals on the part of the parents still do the children no favors. That's the findings of a major study conducted across the United States.
Parents who remain amicable during a divorce do their children no favors, according to a new study.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The new study, the first in 20 years to examine how the behavior of separated parents affects their children, was carried out by U.S. academics. In spite of their purported best efforts, the study found that divorcing parents who maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of their children are doing nothing to help them.
The impact of the split on youngsters is just as devastating whether or not the mother and father keep cordial links, it found. These recent findings undermine a Government-backed consensus that the harm caused to children by separating parents can be limited if the couple remain friends.
Published in the academic journal Family Relations, the report found that children of divorced parents are more likely than others to suffer "external" symptoms such as behavior problems or drug abuse, more likely to have "internal" difficulties like anxiety or depression, and more likely to do badly at school.
Headed by Dr. Jonathon Beckmeyer of Indiana University, found that these children's problems were no worse if their parents continued to fight with each other after the divorce.
"Despite the expectation that children fare better" if their divorced parents develop a co-operative relationship, the behavior of children as assessed by their parents "did not significantly differ" between the friendly and the fighting groups of divorcees.
Divorced parents should be reassured that their children will not be more seriously harmed if they fail to establish a cordial and co-operative relationship with their former husband or wife, it added.
A recent authoritative British investigation into whether conflict or divorce is worse for children was published in 1994.
"It's not the separation itself that can cause harm to your children, it's the level of conflict that they see or hear between parents. This is universally recognized as being very harmful," David Cameron's Coalition guide for divorcing parents, called Sorting Out Separation, says.
In contrast, Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation pressure group, said: "This study fully exposes the mismatch between parents' and children's perceptions.
"Getting on well might make the parents feel better about their split. But it does little for the children. To them it makes no sense if the parents get on well yet won't live together.
"The 'good divorce' is a myth."
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