Back to School, Back to Bickering (an independent study commissioned by HealBee)

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September spells the end of the annual summer ceasefire for eight out of ten troubled couples, reveals a study published today.

Parents arguing in front of child

Summer holiday ceasefire ends

90% of those who separated now admitted they would have left earlier if they received more support

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For many children it won’t just be school starting that they’ll have to cope with, but also a return of family feuds. While for a large number of young adults, as they further their own lives by moving out, it will signal the end of their parents’ relationship.

Of those couples with school age children, 83% felt that they had made more of a concerted effort during the summer holidays. Unfortunately though, only 5% said that they had now resolved their issues.

The study of 2,000 British parents who are considering leaving or who have left their partners in the past, showed no clear standout point when asking whether children are better at dealing with their parents splitting up when they’re older. The largest group (35%) felt that it made no real difference as to how old the child is, as it still affects them as much if they’re an infant or a young adult. However, of those couples who are still together, three fifths (60%) felt their children would have to be at least 18 years of age before they would consider leaving their partner; and only 14% of them believed that the age of the child is irrelevant.

24% of those surveyed admitted to staying in a relationship solely for the sake of their children, but worryingly 72% of all of those who said they were still living together and acting as a couple in front of the kids said that they actually considered themselves separated.

Almost as many of those couples who had consciously made a decision to end their relationship after the summer (29%), were adamant that they would remain together (28%). A quarter (25%) reported they had decided themselves to end the relationship but had yet to inform their partner, while the remaining 18% suggested that they may separate. 60% of those who reported that they were not definite about splitting up at this moment in time said that they would leave once their children were older or left home.

A spokesman from HealBee.com, which commissioned the study, said: ‘’We were not really surprised that there is a sharp spike in divorces in September after troubled couples have played happy families, or cracks in the relationship were exacerbated while spending more time together over the summer holidays. After all, there’s enough time now before Christmas to make a clean break if need be.

‘’What we are more surprised at is that it would seem that many parents feel compelled to stick together with a disregard for their own happiness, or without fully considering the effect on children growing up in a household where there is animosity.

‘’Aside from the very real possibility of children blaming themselves for their parents’ unhappiness should they choose to stay together, but then separate when they’re older, these children might also follow their parents’ patterns in their own relationships.

‘’If you grow up in an environment where everyone around you speaks with a certain accent you simply don’t notice it until you are outside of that environment. Children are both highly receptive to their role models’ actions, but also perceptive to any changes such as increased tension within the household.”

Of those parents who had now separated, 75% said that they now regretted staying in their relationship for their children.

Those with regrets cited in equal amounts (45%) that they felt their children would have been better off with two happy homes rather than one unhappy home, and also that their kids had actually ended up being miserable/depressed because of the effect of living in that environment. Slightly fewer stated (34%) that the children realised the couple didn't want to be together so it was a waste of time, and (22%) felt that they had an opportunity to be happy, but now felt trapped.

With only 30% of people letting their close family or friends know what was happening and even less (27%) being confronted by their friends or family, perhaps it shouldn’t be a shock to discover that nearly 90% of those who had separated now admitted that they would have left earlier if they received more support.

Chad Schofield, Founder of HealBee, added: ‘’At HealBee.com we have created a free to use, discreet and impartial website which provides a blend of anecdotal and professional advice. The site allows you to anonymously voice how you really feel about your experiences. After a simple registration process we provide access to services, articles and forums which may be of use to you – essentially it is a support network of people who have been, are going through, or preparing for a similar situation to yours.”

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