Most parents know that divorce harms their children. Many parents seeking divorce try to make the separation as amicable as possible. Yet, research from the University of York, in Heslington, UK indicates that divorce alone does not account for the learning difficulties many children experience. The study examined 19,000 children and found surprising results. Both cognitive and non-cognitive skills in children were affected by divorce, but for different reasons. Fighting parents resulted in a worse impact for children than the divorce.
The Impact of Divorce and Fighting on Child Development
Presenting their findings to the Royal Economic Society in Bristol, the researchers explained that although divorce can have negative consequences, children who developed cognitive skill gaps were more likely from a family with lower economic or educational standing. Cognitive skills are those which help a child think, reason, pay attention, read, or remember what has been taught. The team concluded that divorce has little bearing on these skills.
However, when children were examined for non-cognitive skills, the team also found that divorce alone had little impact. Instead, when parents engaged in fights, whether they divorced or not, the children suffered reduced non-cognitive functions. Non-cognitive skills are those which relate to self-perception, motivation, perseverance, self-control, social competency, resilience, and the ability to cope with problems.
Considering that many parents remain together long after the relationship has broken down for the sake of their children, they may be doing more harm by remaining in the troubled relationship. Parents who struggle to keep the marriage intact often fight. So, parents who stick it out but fight are doing far more harm to their children’s long-term good than if they divorced.
A separate study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined social skills versus intellectual skills to future life success. The study compared the social abilities of children in kindergarten to the same person’s decades later. The results were striking. Those with strong social or non-cognitive skills as children fared better later in life. This also shows the importance of making sure that young children are protected from the negative effects of fighting parents.
When parents fight, the children clearly suffer. Although divorce does impact children of lower social standing in terms of their ability to gather facts, children with parents who fight are more severely harmed, regardless of social standing. When parents choose instead to divorce amicably, the children fare better.
Washington Township Divorce Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Help Parents Divorce Peacefully
No one likes divorce. Divorce tears families apart. Yet, divorce is often part of life. When two people have grown apart to such an extent that they can no longer share space in the home without sharing angry words or more, the time has come to divorce. The Washington Township divorce lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone have seen this to be true. Far too often we have represented families wherein fighting was the norm. We have seen the difficulties faced by children. If you live in Camden County, Burlington County, or Gloucester County and are considering a divorce, if fighting has become ‘normal’ in your home, it would be wise to speak with us today. To schedule a consultation, complete our simple online form or call now 856-547-7733.