Impact of Divorce on Adolescence Behavior

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This case presentation will demonstrate the impact of family transitions on changes in emotional and behavioural problems attributed to the effects of parental separation including the risk of illegal behaviour in adolescents. This presentation will discuss the outcomes of marital break-up for children and particularly the impact of contentious divorces on children and how children’s perceptions and experiences can have negative emotional consequences lasting from early childhood into adolescence.

This case presentation will show how a child’s adaptation to divorce is influenced by a number of stressors in addition to developmental and cognitive factors. Some typical life changes that affect child adjustment are: erratic contact or no contact with the non-residential parent, ongoing parental conflict, parental remarriage, and less availability of the residential parent. In the case report I am presenting you will notice that all of these typical life changes largely contributed to the difficulties which the Identified Patient (IP) experienced.

Several factors are predictive of more positive outcomes in children’s reactions to divorce. According to a report from The Vanier Institute of the Family,(2009) a child’s ability to cope with changing family circumstances is shaped by: the extent to which parents resolve or set aside their conflicts, the quality of the residential parents’ relationship with their children, the extent to which children do not feel rejected by non-residential parents, the absence of the children’s continued anger or depression, how events are defined, assets, capacities, and deficits of individual children, and developmental needs.

Problems that divorce may cause for children and adolescents are: confusion, fear of abandonment, anxiety, insecurity, feelings of rejection, shame, blame, guilt, sadness, depression, anger, acting out behaviour, somatic complaints, all of which the identified patient (IP) in the following case...
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