Divorce and Children

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DIVORCE AND CHILDREN…

EXPLORING THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

INTRODUCTION

Pickhardt (2006) defined divorce as the process in which two individuals decided to legally separate all aspect of their lives (legal, social, physical, and emotional) to develop their own individual lives. In today’s society, divorce is becoming an increasing epidemic of married couples with or without children. Such divorces that involve kids become increasingly difficult due to the stability of the children involved. Many children feel a sense of guilt when he or she learns that their parents are getting a divorce. Children often take the blame and feel as if he or she was the cause of their parents’ problems and the reason for divorce. Lansky also accredits divorce to being the single most traumatic experience within a child’s life that does experience the divorce of their parents (Lansky 2003).

DIVORCE AFFECTS IN CHILDREN

Divorce impacts anyone who is involved within the matter. Studies use to assume that preschoolers were the worst effected by divorce, but further research does not support this theory. In fact, there's not a single age that is clearly worse or clearly better effected by a parents divorce. The unfortunate act within divorce is that children get caught in the middle of divorce, when the children are simply innocent victims within such situations. Children, individuals at the age of ten and younger, can have a difficult time within such an event. Kids at this age aren’t at the emotional or psychological state to be able to fully grasp the circumstances of divorce and how it can be inevitable with most failing marriages. Because of their age, they feel that each parent should stay together no matter what and can’t look outside of the situation to evaluate the true damage being done to all relationships surrounding the marriage. Children of this age depend upon parents to provide stability, love, and security. Once divorce arises, these children can feel that his or her world is crumbling around them and feel a sense of abandonment from both parents. This sense of abandonment can be increasingly stronger towards the parent who he or she feels initiated the divorce. Other emotional and psychological issues can arise from the feeling of abandonment such as anxiety and insecurities. These children can experience feelings of insecurity by the thought of love leaving the home because of divorce. Children face anxiety of loosing the lifestyle he or she is accustomed to as well as the future living arrangements of the parent leaving. They look at the situation as if one or both parents can “stop” loving each other then how is it guaranteed that they won’t stop loving me (Pickhardt 2006). Other questions that children are faced with in divorce situations are “why?” Why is this happening to my family? Why can’t mommy and daddy stay together? Why are you making mommy or daddy move out? The way parents address such answers with children can hinder or help his or her emotional state throughout understanding the terms for divorce (Lansky 2003). Young children can also encounter behavioral changes due to the emotional stress that divorce has on them. Such stress can cause physical changes, as well, in the health of a child. Children may develop the following due to stress: appetite changes (loss or over eating), sleep loss, decrease in normal play activities, nausea, and even headaches. These signs and symptoms correlate with the direct affects of stress on individuals (Pickhardt 2006).

DIVORCE AFFECTS IN ADOLESCENCE

Adolescence is the stage in an individual’s life where he or she is trying to define his or her self and breakaway from their childhood habits. Children that fall within this group are able to understand the reasons for divorce and see the conceptual things that are going on within the household such as disagreements, nonverbal cues, and the disengagement within their...
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