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Second child can stabilise parents’ relationship

A second child can be beneficial to their parents’ relationship, researchers claim.

Before the birth of another baby, parents often worry that that it will add to the stress and lack of sleep they experienced after their first child. However, psychologists from the University of Michigan suggest that parents adjust to a second child in as little as four weeks. Additionally, it only takes four months before “the quality of [the parents’] marriage returns to where it was before the birth”.

Researchers surveyed over 200 married couples from the final trimester of the mother’s pregnancy to twelve months after the child was born. Each respondent couple answered questions about their relationship such as how well they communicated with each other, parenting stress and their overall marital satisfaction.

The majority of couples surveyed were more positive about their marriage shortly after their second child was born than they were negative. In 44 per cent of couples, the wives reported a slight decline in their relationship satisfaction but said they had not experienced a rise in conflict.

The study was published in the academic journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. It revealed that 35 per cent of couples experienced increased stress and disruption soon after their second child was born. However, researchers noted that this was often short-lived and that their overall happiness had returned to normal by four months.

Last month, a German study suggested that the birth of a couple’s first child can cause a significant drop in their parents’ happiness. The researchers claimed that it had a bigger impact than divorce, unemployment or even the death of a loved one.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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