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Children in single-parent families more likely to suffer emotional problems, report finds – Telegraph

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on August 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Children in single-parent families more likely to suffer emotional problems, report finds

Children from broken homes are almost five times more likely to develop emotional problems than those living with both parents, a report has found.

Young people whose mother and father split up are also three times as likely to become aggressive or badly behaved, according to the comprehensive survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics.

Living in a “reconstituted” family containing step-children or step-parents increased the risk of developing behavioural problems still further, it found.

The stark findings of the study, commissioned by the Department for Health and the Scottish Government, fly in the face of the Government’s repeated failure to extol the benefits on children of growing up in a traditional family home.

Under Labour, the number of couples getting married has fallen to the lowest level for more than a century while almost half of newlyweds are now expected to end up divorcing.

Yet Harriet Harman, the party’s deputy leader, insisted recently that “there is no ‘ideal’ parenting scenario” and “marriage has little relevance to public policy”.

The ONS report involved interviewing parents, teacher and children themselves to find out how many suffered emotional problems such as anxiety or depression, how many had “conduct disorders” such as aggression, and what the possible reasons behind them were.

After interviewing 5,364 children aged between five and 16 in 2004 and again last year, the researchers found that 3 per cent had developed problems over that time. In addition, 30 per cent who had emotional problems at the first survey, and 43 per cent who had behavioural issues, still had them three years later.

The researchers stressed they had not discovered any direct causes of emotional and behavioural problems developing or persisting in children, but agreed there was a link to living in a broken home.

Children whose parents had split up over the three years were 4.53 times more likely to develop emotional problems than those whose mothers and fathers stayed together, and were 2.87 times more likely to show the onset of behavioural disorders.

The report said: “The odds of developing an emotional disorder were increased for children where there had been a change in the number of parents between surveys, from two parents to one parent compared with children and young people in families that had two parents at both times.”

It went on: “Children and young people in households of ‘reconstituted’ families, particularly where there were step-children, were more likely to develop conduct disorder as were those in families which had two parents at Time 1 and one parent at Time 2.”

In addition, children whose mothers were mentally ill were found to be more likely to develop conduct disorders, as were those whose mothers were poorly educated.

Children who endured three stressful events such as seeing one’s parents divorce or appear in court, or suffering a serious disease or being badly injured, were three times as likely to develop emotional problems.

However those who were happy where they lived, had lots of friends or enjoyed activities outside school were less likely to become unhappy.

The report’s author, Nina Parry-Langdon, said: “If children belong to more clubs, it may offer some protection against getting a disorder in the future.”

Children in single-parent families more likely to suffer emotional problems, report finds – Telegraph.

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