Divorcing parents are unaware of the effects of their separation on their children

The online parenting organisation, Netmums, has conducted a survey that suggests that parents who are divorcing are in denial about the actual effects of their separation on their children.

The results of this extensive study that utilised separate surveys for both 1000 parents and 100 children, found that the children were three times as likely to have seen their parents fighting than the adults had ever realised.

Moreover, one in five of the children admitted that they had experimented with drinking to cope and that one in nine children had self-harmed. Significantly it was found that six percent of the children had even considered suicide and that a third of these children had actually tried but were stopped in time. Getting on for a third of under 18s who were surveyed said that they were ‘devastated’ by their parents divorce.

They study also showed that children were more than twice as likely to blame themselves for the end of their parents’ marriage as the adults were to notice that this is what their children were thinking.

This survey has exposed that children hide their true feelings from their parents. As to how the children rationalised the divorce of their parents, one in twelve children explained that they had concluded that it meant their parents did not love them. Another thirteen percent of the children blamed themselves which only five percent of the parents surveyed realised. Just 14 per cent of children felt that they could be honest with their parents about how upset they had been by their parents’ separation

However, it appears that youngsters are able to cope better than their parents, with wider social views of broken families – a remarkable 64% of the children surveyed agreed that divorce was “not seen as a big deal” – in contrast, just 28% of their parents shared that view

From this survey it can be observed that the real effects of divorce on children can be devastating and that most parents do not realise what their children are actually going through.

This blog entry, of course, comes hot on the heels of the earlier blog dated April 4 about a survey conducted by Relate , which concluded that divorce had a very damaging effect on many children. Although we’ve said it before, we think this latest survey provides yet more evidence of the important role family mediation has to play relationship breakdown – at least for those parents who are able to put a space in the mediation process. For them working alongside trained family mediators offers a genuinely quicker and far less acrimonious way of handling the legal issues surrounding relationship breakdown – which is good for parents and particularly good for their children.

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When children are involved there is no such thing as a “good divorce”

A recent study by the relationship support charity Relate has shown that there can be no such thing as a ‘good’ divorce when there are children involved.

The study that examined nearly 1000 families found that 58 percent of the separated parents did not believe that a ‘good’ separation was possible when children are involved. Further, over half of the parents acknowledged that regardless of their best efforts to minimise the pain of the divorce on their children, that the experience of seperation had a negative impact on their children.

In terms of the length of the divorce process, 40 percent of the separated parents who were polled said that their separation took less than a year, 43 percent said it took one to four years and 10 percent said that it took 5 years or more. As more than half of the separated parents surveyed admitted that the separation had a negative impact on their children, it is therefore clear that finding ways of reducing the impact of a separation is vital.

This recent survey, has highlighted how drawn out the majority of separations actually are with only 40 percent of those families polled having completed the divorce process in under a year.

The charity has also disclosed a vast increase in couples booking appointments to see counsellors in the wake of the Christmas holiday. This finding therefore goes someway to substantiate claims that there is a rise in divorce enquiries the day after the New Year, a day that has become known as ‘Divorce Day’.

Our conclusion – whilst perhaps there is no great surprise in hearing from Relate that children suffer in any divorce [or any relationship breakdown between parents for that matter], we think it is yet more evidence of the important role played by family mediators. The whole family mediation process works particularly well when children are involved. It allows their parents to emphasise that despite spitting up, they can still work together – a reassurance that children so desperately need.

Click here for more about how to use family mediation for disputes involving children

Considering Family Mediation? Call us today

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980 622992]

ANDOVER [01264] 364433

  • OR e-mail our team using the email contact form below

Comments or questions are welcome.

* indicates required field