Parental home influences the relationships young people have

25/02/2002 10:00

Adults who grew up with parents who didn’t get along well, fairly often have their relationships break up. It doesn’t matter much whether or not the parents actually got a divorce.

Adults (aged 18-52) by break ups of partnership or marriage

0923g1.gif (4437 bytes)

Breaking up and the relationship between the parents

Adults who grew up in two-parent families where there used to be a lot of fighting have more break ups than adults coming from families where the parents rarely had conflicts. The probability of separation when the former live together outside marriage is about twice as high. No major differences were found in marital relationships.

Adults with divorced parents have as many break ups as adults who grew up with parents who felt the relationship between their parents was bad. The absence of a harmonious parental relationship when they were young seems to have an influence on the relationships their children have as adults. It doesn’t make much of a difference whether or not the parents actually got a divorce or not.

Relationships of parents, adults by period of birth

0923g2.gif (5317 bytes)

Children about their parents’ relationship

Because the number of divorces is increasing, more and more children have experienced divorce when they grew up. Their number increased from 4% among people born between 1945 and 1949 to 17% among people born in the seventies. This means that one in six children under 18 has experienced a divorce.

The share of people who did not experience a divorce but who felt the relationship between their parents was not good fell. A quarter of the people born between 1945 and 1949 felt the relationship between their parents was not good. The same was true for over 15% of the people born in the seventies. The decrease is about the same as the increase in the number of single parent families created by divorce.

The increase in the number of divorces apparently doesn’t have much to do with a worsening relationship between the partners. It is rather because getting a divorce has become less unusual when the relationship is not good. The number of children who felt their parents had a good relationship has stayed about the same during the period.

Arie de Graaf