Scientist Say Parents with Teenage Girls are more Likely to Divorce

posted: 10/10/17
by: Amanda Mushro
Sad girl sitting on the sofa while her parents are quarreling in the living room


Raising teenagers can be rough. From the constant eye rolling to testing their boundaries, any parent with a teenager will tell you that the daily stress of living with a teen can also affect your marriage. But could this stress make your marriage reach its breaking point? That may depend on if you have a teenage daughter or a teenage son since a new study says that parents of teenage daughters are more likely to end up in divorce.

According to a new study that examined more than two million marriages in the Netherlands over a ten year span, divorce risks increase with children's ages--with parents of teenage daughters at greater risk of their marriage ending in divorce.

However before this news puts too much of a damper on your day, there are two pieces of good news with this study:

  • The risk disappears if the father grew up with a sister. So we should all say thank you to our sister-in-laws.
  • The divorce rate decreased once the teenage daughter reached adulthood. Goodbye teen years and hello early twenties.

To complete the study, David Ribar and Jan Kabatek, who are researchers at the University of Melbourne, examined registry data from the Netherlands. The looked dates of weddings, births, and divorces, gender of couples' children, and how long after their birth couples separated for their research.

They found that until the age of 12, there was no differences between the divorce rates of parents of boys and girls. However, when the teenage years really kicked in, between the ages 13 and 18, parents of first-born girls divorce more than parents of first-born boys. They concluded the peak age for a risk of divorce for parents with a girl was 15, and that the risk began to drop when the daughter was around age 19.

This evidence was supported by several past studies that found that parents with first-born girls are slightly more likely to divorce than parents with first-born boys.

While researches had several theories as to why their findings show a higher rate of divorce for parents with teen daughters, they didn't find data to prove those theories. Instead, saying "Our findings suggest the higher divorce rates are explained by strains in the relationships between some parents and their teenage daughters, possibly stemming from differences in attitudes toward gender roles."

While parenting your children at any age can be incredibly stressful, you should take the time to invest in your marriage. After all, date nights are key to a healthy marriage. In fact, here's six ways to have a date night without leaving your home you can try this week!