Children who live with a single parent are just as happy as those living with both parents, a new study has revealed.
Researchers found that the composition of the family has 'no significant effect' on a child's happiness but that the quality of the relationships at home was of far more importance.
The study by the NatCen Social Research Institute involved more than 12,000 seven-year-olds from across the UK, who came from three family types: those living with two biological parents; those living with a step-parent and a biological parent; and those in a single parent family.
All the children were asked: "How often do you feel happy?"
In all three of the groups, 36 per cent of children said they were happy 'all the time,' while the remaining 64 per cent replied that they were happy 'sometimes or never.'
The children's parents' social class and the affluence of the area they live in, were also shown to have little affect on a child's happiness.
The aspects of children's lives which were found to have the greatest effect on happiness were: shouty parents, arguing with siblings and being bullied at school.
"The family relationship is more important than the type of family," explained Jenny Chanfreau, a senior researcher from NatCen.
"Staying together for the children but fighting all the time and shouting at the children, not having fun together, not sitting down to eat dinner is not going to be good for a child's happiness.
"It's more about the dynamics of what goes on inside the household and whether there's stability in every day life. If they feel secure in the home it doesn't mean so much whether there's one parent or more."
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