If children ruled the world the first thing they would do is ban divorce, a new survey of under-10s shows.
The survey of 1,600 children was conducted by Luton First and has been running annually for the past four years. It is released in conjunction with National Kids’ Day which they sponsor and organise.
This is the first time divorce has featured at the top of the list. Divorce pushes a ban on knives and guns off the top spot which it had held for two years running.
The survey also reveals that 80 per cent said they would probably marry when they grow up and two thirds said they wanted to have children.
A spokeswoman for Luton First, Patricia Murchie, said: “This particular age group has some very clear ideas on how the world could be changed for the better, but are very rarely given the opportunity to express them.”
Earlier this year results from the National Child Development Study were released showing changing attitudes towards divorce have not diminished its impact on children’s lives.
The study tracked 17,000 people born in the same week in 1958 and compares their lives with those born earlier and later.
A researcher involved with the study, Kathleen Kiernan, said: “It might be expected that as divorce has become more commonplace, its effects might have reduced. Yet a comparison with children born in 1970 shows that this is not the case.”
Divorce has “repercussions that reverberate through childhood and into adulthood,” the report concludes.
“Children from disrupted families tend to do less well in school and subsequent careers than their peers. They are also more likely to experience the break-up of their own partnerships.”
A separate report, released in April by the Good Childhood Inquiry, warned that family breakdown was a major cause of harm to children’s mental health.
One of the authors of the report warned that it’s not just the event of family breakdown itself but the life that has to be lived afterwards that causes harm.
Stephen Scott, Professor of Child Health and Behaviour at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, described how family breakdown can harm children’s mental health.
He said: “It is as much about the problems arising from family breakdown as the event itself. Young people don’t like being in different homes on different days of the week and get upset by strife between their parents.”