Divorcing parents are in denial about the effect of their family breakdown

A survey carried out by the parenting website Netmums appears to show that many parents are unaware of the extent to which their divorce has affected their children.

Netmums carried out two separate surveys: one for adults and one for children who have gone through a divorce. The results of the surveys has found that children are three times more likely to have seen their parents fighting than their parents realised, whilst a significant number had turned to drugs, alcohol and self-harm.

The surveys also show that children were more than twice as likely to feel that they were the cause of their parents’ divorce, compared to the times the number of adults who noticed that their children were feeling this way.

Despite the fact that only a third of the children who took part in the survey felt that they had ‘coped well’ with their parents’ divorce, in stark contrast with with four out of five parents. Less than a fifth of the children who took part in the survey said that they were happy that their parents were no longer married, whilst a third said that they were still ‘devastated’ about their parents’ divorce.

Overall, the survey showed that significant numbers of children had kept their true feelings hidden from their parents. Sadly 13 per cent of the children who took part blamed themselves for their parents’ divorce; something which just five per cent of parents were aware of.

A third of the children who took part in the survey said that one of their parents had tried to turn them against the other; almost a quarter said that they never saw their father – ten times as many who said the same of their mother.

Netmums founder, Shiobhan Freegard, said: “Divorce may be a little word but it has a huge effect.

“It is estimated that one in three children see their parents separate before the age of 16.

“While experts acknowledge it is better to come from a broken family than live in one, this research shows not enough is being done to support youngsters through the break-up process.

“To flourish, children need security and while we will never see a society free from break ups, we should be investing more time, more care and more money into making sure our youngsters have all the support they need to get through this difficult time.”

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