Couples who are at loggerheads but decide to stay together for the sake of their children may actually be making them more unhappy than if they were to split up, a new study has found. “Children’s happiness is far more affected by family conflict than by factors such as living in a single parent household, according to the research by the Children’s Society. Young people who reported that their family ‘gets along well together’ are on average 20 per cent happier than those who do not, regardless of whether they live with a single parent, a step-parent or both their birth parents, the study found. The impact of family conflict on children’s happiness far outstripped family structure, with a child in a lone parent household just 2 per cent unhappier than one living with both birth parents. Children were on average 10 per cent more unhappy in the immediate aftermath of a family break-up or another change in family structure such as gaining a step-parent. But after a year happiness levels then recovered to almost the same levels as for children who had experienced no family problems.”
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