Divorce is a relatively common thing in the modern era. When I was younger divorce was rare, however now it has become somewhat of a normality. Though when we as adults are going through something like this the tendency is to get wrapped up in our own thoughts and feelings – it could be affecting our kids a lot more intensely than we thought. As a teacher, it is hard to see kids in your class that are going through this sort of experience.
Apparently, the disruption caused to a kid’s education during a family breakdown is done way before the parents actually split up. A study was conducted that people with divorced parents performed 20% less well in Maths, English and numerous other academic subjects as well as 30% less well in tests of more ‘all round’ skills such as perseverance, self control and motivation.
It has been a topic of conversation for a long time that witnessing parents’ separation and adjusting to a changed household led by one parent (usually with a drop in income) are the reasons why children with divorced parents performed worse in school.
However, Gloria Moroni of the University of York said that more or less the entire educational gap could be factored in the home before separation. The larger soft skills gap was the result of experiencing severe conflict at home before the split, along with the lack of child supervision that often accompanied a stressful relationship, Ms Moroni concluded.
The rich data source of the Millennium Cohort Study measures the level of conflict and quality of parental relationships in the children’s homes.
“The main result of my research is that the fact that children of divorced parents have on average lower cognitive and non-cognitive skills compared with children of intact families is not necessarily due to divorce itself,” Ms Moroni said. “Most of the damage is given by pre-divorce circumstances and characteristics of the family.”
Inter-parental conflict may be even more harmful to a child’s development than parental dissolution itself.
There was a higher incidence of divorce and separation among lower educated couples, often because they had married younger or had financial problems. “And indeed, inter-parental conflict may be even more harmful to a child’s development than parental dissolution itself,” Ms Moroni said.
She added that the results suggested that interventions that encouraged parents to co-operate and solve their differences more amicably, or that made them aware of the negative impact of conflicts on children, could help to close these non-cognitive gaps.
The findings will be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference, which began yesterday.
So, if going through tough times with your partner, be self aware with how you are. Don’t discuss important issues or argue with each other in front of your children, as the potential knock on effect can be huge. If you are currently going through a divorce and you are worrying how it is affecting your child, talk to them and listen. They may not want to talk about it initially but they will appreciate the fact that you have given them the opportunity to speak with you about it.
Does anything in this article affect you? Do you have any good ideas about dealing with these sorts of issues with your children? Then please get in touch through the contact page. Thank you.