How divorce can be a good thing for kids

The Globe and Mail

In the 1970s, the Brady Bunch made a blended family look like superfun. (AP/AP)

Could divorce have any positive effects on children? Conventional wisdom says it's unlikely, but growing research hints that the break up of marriages isn't all bad when kids are involved, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Recent research from the Pew Research Center shows that if parents who are divorced remarry other people, their children's future marriages could benefit from the good example (assuming those second marriages are happy).

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Among the nearly 2,700 adults who were asked in the Pew survey to compare the closeness of their marriages with those of their parents while they were growing up, about 60 per cent of those raised in stepfamilies said their marriages are happier than that of their parents.

Pew also found that 70 per cent of people with step-relatives report being satisfied with their family lives. At the same time, however, nearly half of respondents with a step-relative said they feel a stronger bond, or sense of obligation, to biological relatives.

Overall, the findings suggest that children may benefit from seeing parents in a healthy relationship - even if it's not a relationship between their biological parents. At the same time, divorce does have a lasting impact on many children. And it's unlikely we'll see any real consensus on this complex and complicated issue, at least in the near future.

Do you think divorce is always a bad thing for children - or are there some real benefits?

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