Parent/child bond may suffer when Texas parents divorce early

When a couple with children decides to divorce, the welfare of the kids is usually at the top of their list of priorities. In fact, many parents time the legal end of their marriage to align with what they believe are the needs of their children. While many in Texas believe that divorce is easier on very young children than those in middle school and beyond, recent research suggests that early divorce may bring its own set of problems.

The research was recently published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Researchers analyzed data from an online survey concerning personality and the types of close relationships people have as adults. Respondents were 24 years of age, on average. Interestingly, those whose parents divorced when they were 5 years old or younger reported  having less secure relationships with their parents as adults than those who went through divorce at an older age.

The author of the study then repeated the survey with a new group of adult respondents. This time, questions were asked about which parent the child lived with following the divorce. The results suggest that children often have a less secure relationship with the non-custodial parent as adults.

For Texas parents considering divorce, the results of this study may serve to underscore the importance of creating a fair and balanced parenting plan as part of the child custody portion of their divorce. While joint or shared custody is not an option for all families, liberal visitation rights can help both parents share in the responsibilities and joys of parenting. By ensuring that the non-custodial parent remains a vital part of their child’s life, parents can help strengthen and preserve the parent/child bond, which can endure well into adulthood.

Source:, “Divorce in Early Childhood May Harm Adult Ties,” Kathleen Doheny, July 16, 2013