Divorce may have a greater impact on a child's relationship with their parents than previously thought. A new study reports that children feel less secure about their relationship with their parents the younger they are when their parents get divorced, according to the new study.
The study found that the younger children are when their parents get the divorced, the less secure they feel about their relationship with their parents, even when they become adults. Researchers reported that children with divorced parents were less likely to view their relationship with their parents as secure compared to kids with married parents. In addition, children who are younger than five when their parents divorce feel more insecure about their relationships with their parents than children whose parents divorced when they were older.
What does feeling secure about your relationship with your parents mean? The study said that having a secure relationship with a parent allows children to trust their parents and know that they will be there for them. When kids do not have a secure relationship with their parents, they are less likely to trust one or both of their parents and may not feel like they can depend on them during their life.
The study found that children with divorced parents were more likely to feel insecure about their relationship with their fathers than with their mothers. This could be due to more mothers having physical custody of their children so the kids spend more time with their mother compared to their father. The study reported that adult children felt more insecure with the parent they did not live with growing up.
The researchers did not make any recommendations based on the study. However, based on the findings, child custody arrangements may want to consider how the amount of time a child spends with each parent impacts his or her ability to have a secure, trusting relationship with both parents when they grow up.
Source: HealthDay News, "Divorce in Early Childhood May Harm Adult Ties With Parents: Study," July 16, 2013