The Link Between Family Breakdown and Teen Mental Health Problems in the UK

Nov 27, 2017 by

by Harry Benson, Institute for Family Studies:

It shouldn’t be contentious. Yet somehow it is.

You might imagine that the way parents behave towards each other and how they behave towards their children ought to be a major factor in how kids develop as teenagers. After all, parents are the most important people in their children’s lives. They see them at close range more than they see anybody else. They are the people who made them, who care for them the most, who act as primary role models, who spend the most time with them, and who their children want most to love them.

So, it makes sense that if they treat each other well and show their children love and safe boundaries, then the odds are that most kids will turn out fine. If parents fall short on any of these areas—for example, if they show contempt for one another, fight or ignore each other, can’t make their relationship work so they split up, or can’t show their kids the love and safe boundaries they need—then it makes sense that the odds start building up against their children.

How children see the world is bound to be framed first and foremost by what they experience at home.

And yet the prevailing view in government circles is that whether the parents are married or not, or stay together or not, isn’t important. What’s most important, apparently, is whether they fight.

Parental conflict is certainly unpleasant and well known to have unpleasant consequences for children. Yet previous research by the Marriage Foundation has shown that only 2% of parents quarrel a lot and only 9% of parents who divorce quarreled a lot before they split up. These numbers alone suggest that parental conflict is an insufficient explanation for the prevalence of teenage problems. In any case, children are often better off out of a high conflict relationship.

But is parental conflict really the only problem?

Read here


Related Posts


Share This