Separation and Effects on Children

A good divorce? Don’t bet your children on it….

Separation and effects on children :  While there is little doubt that parental disputing has long term adverse effects on children, in recent years we have comforted ourselves that a separation characterised by cooperation and mutual respect helps children adjust to parents’ separation.  We’ve been fond of asserting that ‘children are resilient’ and relying on them to thrive.

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But a new study reported in the Sydney Morning Herald found that children from ‘good’ divorces were no better off on a range of well-being measures.

It questions the whole concept of the ”good divorce”, a term popularised in the 1990s to describe a break-up in which the parents are co-operative, the children remain close to both, and emerge, apparently, unscathed.

“”Creating a positive post-divorce family environment – although worthwhile – is no guarantee that children will be unharmed by marital dissolution,” says Paul Amato, the lead author, and professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University.

The study found the offspring from ”good” divorces were no better off on a range of well-being measures than youngsters of divorced parents who did not get on.

In self-esteem, satisfaction with life and school, their experimentation with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and in their school marks, children of ”good” divorces scored no better.

As young adults they were as likely as peers with less co-operative divorced parents to report having had under-age sex and substance abuse problems; and they enjoyed no better relationships with their mothers.”

One finding is positive –  children of cooperative, respectful separated parents are more likely to maintain a close relationship with the ‘other’ parent, usually the father, and that assists them to mature appropriately.

“Professor Amato, a highly regarded researcher with a background at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, said in the absence of domestic violence it made sense for couples not yet fully committed to separation to try to rebuild their relationship.

For parents who did separate, counsellors should help them learn strategies to reduce stressors for children that often followed divorce.”

It is through studies such as these that mental health professionals gain insights into the long-term effects of separation and effects on children.

Rosalin Primrose

Phone: 0424 002 640



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Psychology, Counselling & Mediation Sunshine Coast Ph 0424 002 640

  Rosalin Primrose Horse Therapy
Rosalin Primrose Psychology Services

Rosalin Primrose

MA , Reg Psych, (FDRP)
  • Medicare Provider No: 4197097T
  • Counselling Psychology Reg No: PSY 0000976237
  • Nationally Accredited Mediator & Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP)
‘Ocean Central’
Suite 18, Level 4
2 Ocean Street

Weekend & telephone appointments available by request

Ph: 0424 002 640

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