A mother whose parents got divorced when she was nine years old has spoken of the lasting damage the split caused in her own life.
Sophia Ludbrook-Miles told the Daily Mail that her childhood and teenage years were blighted by behavioural problems and alcohol use because her “family support system had been torn apart”.
She criticised the casual attitude to divorce endemic in her parents’ generation after legal changes initiated in the late 1960s and warned that the dissolution of marriage causes “long-lasting” damage.
Sophia, now 30, told the newspaper that following her parents’ divorce, she “had a lot of issues and would misbehave in lessons or just walk out of school.
“By my teenage years I was drinking alcohol and self-harming and, with hindsight, realise things got so bad for me because my family support system had been torn apart, and I didn’t feel I had anyone to talk to.”
She added: “I think too many among my parents’ generation gave up too easily, because divorce had become more acceptable – but the damage it causes is long-lasting.”
Change in attitudes
Sophia got married in 2011 to Alex, a company secretary, and has two young children. She stresses that: “Marriage is hard work but, if you commit to it, I believe we all – especially the parents among us – should do everything in our power to stay together.”
Family law firm Hall Brown believe that there has been a shift in attitudes towards marriage among young parents today.
James Brown told the Mail: “Many of the people who come to see us because their marriage is in trouble make clear they don’t really want a divorce.”
“Some underline a desire to explore every possible option to save their relationships because they remember only too well how much distress was caused by their parents’ marriages ending.”
Last year, family law firm Mishcon de Reya released a new book called ‘Splitting Up: A Child’s Guide to a Grown Up Problem’. It includes moving testimonies from children and teenagers whose parents have divorced.
Commenting on the release, Dr Sharon James, a social policy analyst and highly respected commentator on marriage, said: “It’s tragic that politicians have such a relaxed attitude towards divorce, particularly given the damage being done in the lives of children.”