Does parental separation affect the well-being of children?

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According to a new report, children's welfare is not negatively affected if they live with only one or both parents, a report that also shows that a parent's private parenting is more common than we thought.

Data were collected from 27834 households in the UK between 2009 and 2017.

Children who are always living with a parent have high scores such as those living with or above their parents, in terms of satisfaction with life, the quality of their relationships with their peers, or their positives about family life.
The authors call on governments and organizations working with separated families not to assume that life will be more difficult for those children living with only one parent at home.
"We have supported separate families for 100 years and know directly how strong and diverse separate parents and their families are," says Rosie Ferguson of the Gingerbread charity, who co-authored the report. "Our report with the University of Sheffield exposes these myths about single parent families In large measure, it shows that children are not adversely affected if a parent raises them. More importantly, for the welfare of the child is the existence of positive relationships ».

The team wants to illustrate how families can be diverse and changing.

The research shows that one out of three families will be supported by only one parent at a time during a six-year period.
During the same six-year period, one single in seven is married or begins living with another partner, and in three quarters of the cases, the biological parent is with their children.
At any stage, the research found that 24% of households in the UK were headed by two separate parents, 13% were headed by cohabiting parents, and 63% were headed by married parents.
"By taking a more dynamic view of family life, these findings challenge common political and public stories about separated parents and their families," says Sumi Rabindrakumar, principal author of the research from Gingerbread.
Not only is the experience of single parenting more common than that usually reported, but family relationships and care are more complex and often extend beyond family unity. "
In particular, those who have formal policies on childcare should take into account the liquidity of modern families and separation. "Separation does not necessarily mean that one parent disappears from the scene," the researchers say.
The authors highlight a wide range of child welfare factors - not living with only one or both parents - including the broader support networks that young children may have or not.

For example, ancestral support was found to be more common in separated parent families.

In other words, the political narrative should not always be that individual paternity is an automatic problem for children.
Add to the list of erroneous assumptions that science has exposed - such as the notion that children of gay parents are worse off.

"We urge policymakers and researchers alike to do more to challenge stereotypes and reverse the dynamics of family life," says Ferguson.

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