Divorce is difficult, but children are stronger than many think
Recent study overturns many stereotypes about children raised by single moms
Stereotypes can be very difficult to overcome and one of the most enduring such stereotypes is that of children raised by single mothers. People have long assumed, and some flawed studies have occasionally backed them up, that children who are raised by single mothers are more likely to drop out of school, have behavioral problems, and enjoy a lower income when they are adults. Such stereotypes can be destructive as they often discourage people from leaving unhappy and unhealthy marriages because of the perceived damage a divorce will do to their children. According to Canoe News, however, a recent study has found that children raised by single-mothers are at no educational or career disadvantage than children who grow up in two-parent homes.
Single-mom children succeed
The study, conducted by Brescia University College and Western University in Canada, stretched over a 14-year period and looked at thousands of children raised by either single mothers or two-parent households. The findings were, to say the least, surprising. The study concluded that children raised by single-mothers achieved the same level of education and income later in life as children raised by two parents.
Even more surprisingly was the finding that children brought up in single-mom households were actually at an advantage in certain other areas. Children raised by single moms were more likely to find better jobs as adults and were far less likely to divorce or separate in later life. Researchers stressed that the determining factor in a child’s success was not whether parents were married or single, but the education level attained by the parents themselves. The study only looked at single-mom households because there was not enough data to analyze children raised by single fathers.
Those findings are bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially given that previous U.S. studies have suggested that children of single parents tend to do poorly in life. The problem with those previous studies, however, may have been that they were skewed by conflating children of single mothers who had never been married with mothers who became single after a divorce. As researchers suggested, the former group tends to be influenced by young and teenage mothers, who are more likely to have fewer economic and education advantages than single-mothers who were once married.
While the study does away with a lot of misleading stereotypes, as the Huffington Post points out, people going through a divorce should nonetheless be careful about how they break the news of their divorce to their children. School-age children, for example, are at risk of taking the blame for their parents’ divorce on their own shoulders, which can lead to behavioral problems at school. So long as such children receive assurances that they are still loved by both parents and come to understand that they have no control over their parents’ divorce, the better equipped they will be to deal with the adjustment at home.
Parents who are considering a divorce likely want to keep the process as painless for their families as possible. With such needs in mind, it is important to contact a family law attorney who offers not only the best legal advice, but does so with a compassionate understanding of his client’s wishes that is based on real-world experience.