real life

Kids with divorced parents have happier marriages. Discuss.

Does bolting do the kids a favour … eventually?



Anything you can do, I can do better. That’s the war cry from the children of broken marriages, if you believe some of the stats from the Pew Research Centre in the United States.

The catch is, the divorced parents have to remarry and this second union (assuming it is a happy one) tends to teach their children about what a good marriage looks like.

So if the parents divorce and if they remarry and if that marriage is better, than yay!

Here’s what the researchers had to say:

“In the Pew Research survey, all married adults were asked to compare the closeness of their own marriage with that of their parents’ marriage when they were growing up.  Among married adults with no step relatives, 45% say their marriage is closer than their parents’ marriage was, while 50% say their marriage is about the same as their parents’.  By contrast, among married adults who have step siblings or stepparents – many of whom presumably had divorced parents –more than six-in-ten say their marriage is closer than their parents’ marriage was, while roughly 30% say it’s about the same.”

So some of the data shows that trial-and-error relationships may have some benefit for children who have experienced them through parents, but that’s assuming the second (or third or fourth) marriages are happier in some way.

There’s plenty of data, of course, to suggest none of these extra marriages make an iota of difference and that, in fact, divorce kids are much worse off.

They’re like sponges, some researchers suggest, bound to repeat the mistakes of their parents before them. They marry earlier and fail sooner. It’s called the Divorce Cycle as the effects cascade from one generation to the next.

Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed in life or love. But there’s probability and nobody wants long odds when it comes to relationship success.

None of this accounts for distortions from those who were surveyed in any of the research: do you tell the truth when asked about the health of your marriage? Or even your relationship? Do you even admit it to yourself?

It’s all a minefield of ‘what ifs’ and caveats. But an interesting discussion.

So, what’s your take on the divorce cycle? Are we doomed to repeat the romantic failures of our parents or destined to succeed because of them?