Family Law Blog

Children in Single Parent Homes Just As Happy

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Divorced parents, who have been worrying about the effect of their divorce on their children, will be relieved at the findings of a new study. According to the study, there isn't much truth to the oft-held belief that children, who are raised in intact homes with two parents, are much happier than children from single families.

The study seems to indicate that the quality of parenting is much more important than the quantity. The research was conducted in the United Kingdom, and found that children who were brought up by a single parent, or a step-parent did not report lower levels of happiness, compared to children who grow up with an intact family with their biological parents. The research was based on an analysis of more than 13,000 children, and found that the children's reported happiness levels had no association with their family structure at all. Children were much more likely to be happy when they got along with their siblings, and had fun and positive experiences with the family at weekends.

Among the seven-year-olds, approximately 36% said that they were happy all the time, and 64% reported being happy “sometimes” or “never.” Those levels of happiness remained the same regardless of whether the children were being raised in a single family structure, or by both biological parents. In fact, the researchers found no difference in the happiness levels, even when they controlled for social class of the children. The researchers said they found similar results when analyzing another group of children aged between 11 and 15.

The researchers found that it was the relationships that the children had with family members as well as friendships at school, that were much more likely to indicate their levels of happiness or unhappiness. For instance, bullying at school was much more likely to be linked to unhappiness reported by a child, than having a single parent.