Study finds no negative effects on kids in single-parent households

But we already knew those who fly the solo when it comes to everyday parenting are all kinds of amazing.

When cracks begin to appear in a marriage that involves children, both parties usually do all they can to make the marriage work.

"We tried for the sake of the kids," they will later lament to close friends.

And while it's a selfless and wonderful thing to do, single parents shouldn't beat themselves up over making the decision to leave a partnership that is no longer working for them.

A recent study has shown that children raised in single-parent households fair better than their two-parent counterparts in a number of ways.

The UK-based study , led by Sumi Rabindrakumar and released by the University of Sheffield, looked at data collected from 27,834 households between 2009 and 2017 via the UK Household Longitudinal Study, Understanding Society.

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How to raise resilient kids

How is wellbeing measured

The surveys asked respondents to rate their wellbeing in three different categories: ‘life satisfaction’, ‘feelings about their family’ and ‘the quality of relationships with peers’.

On all three aspects, those who were raised in single-parent households reported better satisfaction.

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don't worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That's the name of the game.

"In all cases, the differences between those who have never lived in single parent families, and those who have either experienced or always lived in single-parent families is statistically significant, meaning the difference we observe is unlikely to have occurred by chance," the report stated.

Single parents get more help

The port also pointed out that single-parent families attract more help from the grandparents than those with two parents living together.

"This is particularly evident with financial support and practical help with tasks such as preparing meals, doing everyday chores, and DIY."

The report lists the rates at which grandparents contribute on various levels. When it comes to childcare, there was only a slight difference, with 40 percent of single parents relying on grandparents for childcare versus 36 percent of coupled parents.

Image: iStock.

Grandparents help with childcare a lot! Image: iStock.

The biggest variation was seen in dealing with personal affairs (e.g. paying bills). Just 2 percent of coupled parents relied on the grandparents for this versus 6 percent of single parents.

In all other categories, single parents relied on the grandparents roughly twice as much as those in a coupled household. Those categories are:

"Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience." - Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Financial help (27 percent / 12 percent)
  • Decorating, gardening, house repairs (17 percent / 8 percent)
  • Providing or cooking meals (24 percent / 12 percent)
  • Shopping for you (17 percent / 8 percent)
  • Getting a lift in their car (21 percent /10 percent)

Throw out old assumptions

The data gathered through this research challenges common political assumptions and public narratives around single parents and their families.

Not only are there a vast array of reasons for single parents (bereaved parents and those fleeing domestic violence among others), but having only one parent under the family roof isn't always a bad thing.

We, as a society, need to recognise that children's wellbeing is not adversely affected by living in a single-parent household.

Researchers call for a fresher look at family life to be reflected in the policy-making and research moving into the future.