The Daily Mail is reporting on the study, conducted by researchers at Indiana University, which involved 270 parents who were divorced or separated between 1998 and 2004 with the help of divorce solicitors. The couples all resided in an unnamed U.S. state that compels divorcees to take part in an education program on "co-operative co-parenting.
Sixty-nine percent of these couples described their post-divorce relationship with one another as having some degree of conflict while only 31 percent considered their relationship to be co-operative.
The couples were then asked to gauge how their breakup affected the youngest child in their family. The average age of the children involved was eight years.
The study found that "despite the expectation that children fare better" if divorced parents are friendly and cooperative with one another, the behavior of children "did not significantly differ" between the friendly and the fighting groups of divorcees.
Children of divorced parents are known to be more likely to suffer behavior problems, drug abuse, anxiety, depression, and poor performance in school.
Unfortunately, ex-spouses who remain on friendly terms do little to assuage these negative effects on their children.
If anything, the research assures parents that their children will not be worse off if they fail to maintain a friendly relationship with their ex-spouse after a divorce.
Harry Benson, of the UK's Marriage Foundation pressure group, told the Mail that the new study fully exposes the "mismatch" between parents’ and children’s perception of the impact of divorce.
"Getting on well might make the parents feel better about their split. But it does little for the children," Benson said. "To them it makes no sense if the parents get on well yet won’t live together. The 'good divorce' is a myth."
The research, conducted by Jonathon J. Beckmeyer, Marilyn Coleman and Lawrence H. Ganong has been published in the academic journal, Family Relations.
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