Netmums’s new report reveals separating parents are in denial about the impact their divorce can have on their children. They surveyed 1000 parents and 100 children separately and the key points from the research follow:
- Only 14 per cent of children were able to be honest with their parents about how upset they felt.
- Concerningly, two in five (39%) said they ‘hide their feelings from their parents as they don’t want to upset them’ while one in five felt ‘there was no point in telling my parents how I feel as they are too wrapped up in themselves’
- One in 12 felt forced to look after the parent as the relationship broke down while more than a third (35%) claimed one of their warring parents tried to turn them against the other.
- Almost a third of under 18s described themselves as ‘devastated’ by their parents divorce while one in 12 thought it meant their parents ‘didn’t love them’ and had ‘let them down’. One in eight (13%) blamed themselves for the split.
- The trauma of the spilt was so bad for some youngsters that 31 per cent witnessed their parents fighting while one in 20 (five per cent) drank, and three per cent took drugs to cope. Shockingly, one in nine self-harmed (11 per cent).
- A further six per cent considered suicide and one in 50 tried it but was found in time.
From a parent’s perpective
- By contrast, only five per cent of parents realised their children blamed themselves for the split, and one in ten thought their kids were ‘relieved’ they left their partner
- 10% of parents realised their child had seen them fighting – three times lower than the true figure.
- 8% admitted they had tried to turn their child against the other parent, almost four times lower than reported by the children.
- 77% of separated couples think their kids coped well – but only 18% of children are happy their parents are no longer together.
- Over a third claim one of their warring parents tried to turn them against the other – but only eight% of mums and dads admit to it.
- One in five youngsters drank and one in nine self-harmed to cope – but just one in 100 parents knew
- Furthermore, only one in ten parents knew their children were hiding their true feelings – and fewer than 1% were savvy enough to realise their child was drinking, self harming or doing drugs to cope.
Coping and moving on
- On a more positive note, children coped better than adults with how wider society views broken families, as more than double the number of youngsters thought divorce was ‘not seen as a big deal’ (64%) compared to parents (28%).
- Over half (53%) of mums and dads were worried their families would be judged but just 27% of kids agreed. And double the number of parents thought divorce meant they had failed (18%) compared just nine per cent of children who felt the same.
- The study also showed the most common way to tell children parents were splitting was for mum to tell them face to face (28%) followed by both parents telling them together (24%). But 13% overheard it during a row and 1% were told by text.
- Once a decision was made by the parents to break up, two in five parents left that day with a further 18% fleeing the family home within a week.
FUTHER HELP AND SUPPORT
NFM is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family
If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can also contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.
All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.
You can also visit the Netmums Drop-in Clinic to ask questions and be supported by a Netmums parent supporter.
The number of divorces in England and Wales have slightly increased by 0.5% since 2011 – as shown by the latest figures out today from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Jane Robey, Chief Executive Officer of National Family Mediation, the largest provider of family mediation in the U.K. responded by stating:
“In 2011 we saw the divorce rates hit an all-time low. The theory was that couples couldn’t afford to split as a result of the recession. Now we see divorce rates are rising. Is this as a result of the anecdotal green shoots of economic recovery or because breaking point has been reached?”
“Nobody plans for a divorce and it can be emotionally, financially and practically challenging but the sustained pressure of the economic recession with job losses redundancy, financial insecurity and huge hike in cost of living will have tested many families resolve to the limits. Sadly the ONS figures indicate that many families have reached tipping point and cannot withstand anymore”.
Families past the talking point need affordable expert advice and information to be able to move forward. National Family Mediation understands all too well the impact and expense of divorce and the effect conflict created by relationship breakdown can have on families.
Going through the process of divorce can cause great uncertainty to all members of the family, and at such a stressful time, many couples find it difficult to talk to each other about their concerns and the plans they need to make.
Family Mediation can help because it gives you a private and supportive setting to talk through all the issues surrounding your divorce or separation. Simon Hughes, Justice Minister, supports this view:
“”[The government is] committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.”
“That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them.”
Professionally, trained mediators provide you with the tools to untangle all the strands around family breakdown, whether it is before, during or after the event, and offer you a structured process that enables you to focus on your practical plans for the future.
Robey adds: “National Family Mediation aims to help families adjust to the change that relationship breakdown brings with minimum distress and conflict, with the welfare of children in these families being paramount”.
- According to the ONS release in 2012 – the latest year published – there were a total of 118,140 divorces, a slight increase on 2011, when there were 117,558 (ONS).
- Of the 2012 total, almost half of these divorces occurred in the first 10 years of marriage, with divorces most likely to occur between the fourth and eighth wedding anniversary. 71% of divorces were for first marriages (ONS).
- National Family Mediation has a network of accredited family mediation services delivering in over 500 locations across England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Our services are proven to reduce the conflict in separation, help families avoid lengthy and costly court battles and provide a more affordable and quicker route than traditional legal remedies.
- Couples that use National Family Mediation typically take just over three months to finalise their divorce or separation while cases that go to court take four times longer.
- National Family Mediation is also considerably more affordable, especially as we are able to offer legal aid to eligible clients in mediation.
- National Family Mediation’s professionally accredited family mediators can help families resolve all the practical, legal, emotional and financial issues that arise from separation. Most importantly, NFM can help families make long lasting arrangements that benefit their children.