Children who live with step or single parents are just as happy as those living with two natural parents, researchers have claimed.
In a study presented at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference this week, researchers looked at data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a multi-disciplinary examination of the lives of 19,000 children born in the years 2000-2001.
After examining data relating to 12,877 of the featured children, they concluded that there was no meaningful difference in the happiness levels of children living with the three types of parent: step, single and biological – 36 per cent of the youngsters said they were ‘happy all the time’ and 64 per cent said they were happy ‘sometimes or never’.
This applied even when such factors as their parents’ social class were accounted for.
A separate examination of survey data on 2,679 11-15 year old children yielded similar results.
According to researcher Jenny Chanfreau, childrens’ relationships with parents, like relationships with siblings, were, by contrast, associated with an increase in happiness.
According to a report in Family Law, Ms Chanfreau told conference delegates:
“It’s the quality of the relationships in the home that matters – not the family composition. Getting on well with siblings, having fun with the family at weekends, and having a parent who reported rarely or never shouting when the child was naughty, were all linked with a higher likelihood of being happy all the time.”