Are the Effects of Divorce on Children Overblown?

We all know by now that parents divorcing is hard on children. We’ve heard the horror stories about divorced children doing worse in school, suffering from emotional issues, being likelier to get divorce in the future, and so on and so forth. We’ve heard it so much that we accept it as fact, but is it really true? Or could it be, perhaps, that the effects of divorce on children are overblown and misleading?

A recent article by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller challenges the notions we hold about children of divorce. The article, titled Everything we think we know about being the child of divorce is wrong, says that the common knowledge of the harmful effects of divorce on children “turns out not to be supported by evidence.”

The article states, “Although proponents of marriage would like us to believe that kids with divorced parents have more emotional, academic and psychological problems than they would have had if their parents had stayed together, no credible data exist to back up those claims.”

The authors also make the point that, “people who get divorced are different, on average, from people who stay married. That causes researchers to compare apples to oranges, which can lead to false conclusions. For instance, parents with low incomes are more likely to divorce than wealthy parents (paywall). Children from poor families also, on average, do worse in school. A researcher could conclude that children whose parents divorce do worse in school and would be statistically correct.”

What do you think? Have we been misled about the effects of divorce on children?

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