Children as young as six-months old show distress such as an increased heart rate in response to hostile parental exchanges.
Children up to the age of five years show distress by crying, acting out, freezing, withdrawing from conflict, or attempting to intervene.
Inter-parental conflict has also been associated with behavioural problems, cognitive ability, and physical health (eg accidents/illness) in children as young as 2 years old, and with impaired social functioning
(eg increased conflict with peers) during primary school.
Furthermore, the effects of inter-parental conflict can impact on later child outcomes into adolescence and adulthood, including mental health difficulties (eg aggression, anti-social behaviour, depression, and anxiety), academic attainment and employability, and future relationship stability.
Those who experience family breakdown when aged 18 or younger, are likely to :
- experience homelessness
- be in trouble with the police or spend time in prison
- experience educational underachievement
- experience not being with the other parent of their child/ren
- experience alcoholism
- experience teen pregnancy
- experience mental health issues
- experience debt
- experience being on benefits
- develop behavioural problems
This can have a knock on effect later on in life and cause problems with adult relationships, pshychological wellbeing and employment.