The emotional distress caused by divorce can cause some girls to go through puberty early, according to new research.
Researchers discovered that girls from higher-income families whose fathers had left home were two and a half times more likely to start puberty early than those from intact families.
Doctors believe that distress caused by a divorce may upset a developing girls’ hormones, resulting in an early onset of puberty at an average age of nine.
Experts suggested that middle-class girls were more severely affected by their parents’ divorce because they tend to have less support from family and friends.
In 2008 a report from the Good Childhood Inquiry identified family relationships as being central to children’s wellbeing.
One the report’s authors commented that it is not just the event of family breakdown itself but the life that has to be lived afterwards that causes harm.
And a survey of children under the age of ten revealed that if they ruled the world the first thing they would do is ban divorce.
The survey of 1,600 children was conducted by Luton First, and was released in conjunction with National Kids’ Day.
It was the first time divorce had featured at the top of the list. Divorce pushed a ban on knives and guns off the top spot which it had held for two years running.
The survey also revealed that 80 per cent said they would probably marry when they grow up and two thirds said they would want to have children.
Earlier this year another survey revealed that almost 80 per cent of women whose parents divorced still want to get married.
Asking 2,000 women in their mid-twenties, the Marriage and Wedding Survey for More magazine showed that 78 per cent see marriage as the “ultimate commitment”.
Most young women believe marriage is the best foundation for children, the survey also showed.
Chantelle Horton, editor of More magazine, said of the women: “They no longer see living together or even having a child together as a firm commitment, they want marriage and life-long togetherness.”
Over half of the women said couples give up on marriage too easily while 46 per cent thought that divorce is too easy.