Research Findings:

  • Studies consistently find that children with bi-nuclear families are as a group somewhat worse off than children of intact families.

~   Problems include: difficulty in school, behavior problems, negative self-concepts, problems with peers, and trouble with parents.

  • Careful review reveals that the majority of children with bi-nuclear families do not have serious problems which require professional help.
  • Most of the children with problems serious enough to require professional intervention are from bi-nuclear families.
  • Causes of these types of problems include:

~   Parental Loss – loss of (or minimized) contact with one parent also includes loss of the knowledge, skills and resources (emotional, financial, etc.) of that parent.

~   Economic Loss – single/divorced parents generally have fewer economic resources than married/partnered parents.

~   Life Stress – The end of a parenting partnership impacts a child’s living situations such as changing schools, child care, homes, etc. Children often also have to make adjustments to changes in relationships with friends and extended family members.

~   Poor Parental Adjustment – generally, how children fare in families is due in part to the mental health of the parents.

~   Lack of Parental Competence – much of what happens to children in general is related to the skill of parents in helping them develop.

~   Exposure to Conflict between Parents –the degree to which children are exposed to conflict has been found to have a substantial effect on children’s well-being.

Source:    Robert Hughes, Jr., Ph.D., The Effects of Divorce on Children (2005).