Teenagers Healthier and Happier With Both Parents

A new study suggests that a shared care arrangement is the best outcome for teenagers following a family break up.

Researchers at Stockholm University found that children and teenagers in families with a parental divorce or separation were more likely to experience psychosomatic difficulties than those in nuclear families.

But the study suggested that teenagers with shared care arrangements had better psychosomatic health than those who lived with only one parent.

Children in nuclear families who lived with both parents were found to have the best psychosomatic health of all the groups.

The observational study was designed to assess the effects of a family breakdown on teenagers and investigate the link between domestic living arrangements and psychosomatic problems. The data used was taken from a Swedish national classroom survey of 150,000 children aged 12 and 15.

Psychosomatic difficulties include concentration and sleep health, as well as headaches, loss of appetite, stomach aches, dizziness, sadness and feelings of tension.

In addition to domestic arrangements, differences in psychosomatic health between the sexes were found. Girls at the ages of both 12 and 15 reported a higher frequency of problems compared to boys. The researchers warned, however, that this did not necessarily mean that girls were worse affected, because they are more likely to report problems.

Recent divorce statistics in England and Wales suggest that nearly 100,000 children each year are affected by a divorce. Almost half of couples who divorced in 2012 had a child aged under16 in their family.

Amanda Adeola, our solicitor who specialises in children matters, comments that “I have dealt with a vast amount of divorce/separation where children are involved during the course of my career and it is imperative that the welfare of the children involved is prioritised during this time.

“Frequently parents will say they are prioritising the needs of the children but they are unable to act in a civil way towards each other particularly in the presence of the children and this can have a significant emotional impact on the children involved.

“Even if there is no shared care arrangement in place, if each parent can promote the other in a positive way and encourage the children to spend time with the other parent so the children know when they visit each parent the other one fully supports the arrangement, the children will feel much more secure and less likely to be emotionally affected by the relationship breakdown.

“It is also important to ensure that the children understand that the divorce/separation is not their fault and their parents love them equally. Parents should try to talk to their children together at this time and answer any of their questions honestly so the children can see their parents agree and are working together for their benefit.”

Macks Solicitors in Darlington have an experienced team of family lawyers who deal with a wide range of issues related to separation and divorce. Our family lawyers specialise in children matters and are experienced in negotiating arrangements for children and will do so in a child sensitive and constructive way and will only issue court proceedings as a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted. If you wish to arrange an initial meeting with one of our divorce solicitors in Darlington, you can contact us 01325 389 800.

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