Single Parent Just as Good as Two Study Confirms

single parent Children raised by a single parent are just as happy as those who have both, a new study out today has confirmed. A mother and a father in the home are not the key ingredients for a happy childhood, as many still try to claim. It is the quality of the relationship that is the significant factor. The study took place with 12,877 seven-year old children in the Millenium Cohort Study and was conducted by the NatCen research institute. This ongoing research tracks the lives of children born in the year 2000. The kids fell into three core groups; those who lived with two biological parents, those who had one biological and one step-parent, and those who had a single parent. In each of the categories, the children reported a 36 percent rate of happiness “all the time” and the remainder being happy “sometimes or never.” Jenny Chanfreau, a senior researcher from NatCen, said “We found that the family type had no significant effect on the happiness of the seven-year olds.” In a complementary study, done with an older age group of 2,679 11-15 year olds, the same result was determined. The research was presented at the British Sociological Assocation’s annual conference at Leeds. A spokeswoman for the charity The Children’s Society, was not surprised by the findings. Larissa Pople agreed that “quality of relationships” were “much, much more important” than whether a child had a single parent or two. Deciding to stay together “for the sake of the children” when a marriage has gone sour can do more harm than good. “Shouty parents” were one of the factors the children clearly identified as making them unhappy. Arguments with siblings were also detrimental, as was being bullied at school. In more good news for kids everywhere, the study concluded that some sweets, snacks and treats were better than none, and that some time spent watching TV was valuable. The children consistently or always denied these simple pleasures of childhood, had lower well-being. For all the fuss about eating enough fruit and vegetables going on all the time, the effect of this on happiness is non-existent. In fact, being forced to eat their greens can make kids more unhappy. The old advice, “everything in moderation” seems to win through, with an hour of television more beneficial than five, and a limited amount of cakes and cookies better than an absolute denial of sugary treats. Jenny Chanfreau could not explain the discord between the less healthy diet and the happiness per se, but she had to conclude that eating healthily was not linked to happiness in childhood, whatever its longer-term benefit. It was also definite that moderation was better than prohibition. The odd takeaway is a great contributor to feelings of emotional health. One has to hope that somewhere, somehow, Gwyneth Paltrow’s kids will come across this evidence. The single parent, so often vilified, stigmatized, and blamed for the wrongs in society, particularly by the right-wing, will rejoice at today’s findings. After the London riots in 2011 the tabloid press went wild itself, attributing the breakdown in youth behaviour to the single parent households. The truth is, the average age of a single mother is 37, not 17, and the majority of the children raised by a single parent were born within a marriage that breaks down. That the most important indicator of all, the happiness of children, does not rely on a two parent set-up is something single parents were well aware of, but it is gratifying to have it confirmed by a scientific study. A single parent is just as good as two. By Kate Henderson Sources: Science Codex Gulf News Daily Mail

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