The Effects of Divorce on Children

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The Effect of Divorce on Children under the Age of 18

Abstract
Divorce is an area of life that many people are dealing with today. Unfortunately, divorce seems to be becoming more and more common. The effect of divorce on children is often overlooked. Divorce can have a negative effect on the way a child develops. Areas that may be affected in a child of divorce are: emotional, behavioral, academic, and social. Parents play a crucial role in how well a child is able to adjust to the divorce. Another area that has been researched is the area of gender. Boys and girls seem to be effected differently as an effect of divorce. Parents and other adults may help aid in the process of adjustment and there are many effective ways in which to do just that.

The effect of divorce on children and adolescents is a subject that has been researched for many years in many different ways. Divorce is obviously an area that appears to be more and more common as years go by. Statistics show that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Studies show that couples with children have a lower divorce rate than couples without children. However, plenty of children and adolescents are dealing with the divorce of their parents every day. In fact, children are often the ones that are most effected by divorce. There are many different factors that add to the equation of how divorce may affect a child. Each family that goes through the aspects of a divorce deals with the situation in a completely individual way but, there are similarities in how children react to their parent’s choice to divorce. Areas that could be affected in a child’s life as an outcome of going through divorce are: emotional, behavioral, academic, and social effects. Effects of Divorce on Children and Adolescents.

Emotional Effects. There may be a significant change in a how a child deals with his or her emotions when confronted with their parents divorce. Some emotions that have been seen are: anger, fear, sadness, and frustration. It is rare to come across a child who is accepting and supportive of the choice their parents are making regarding their marriage. Sometimes the child expresses anger toward their parents because they did not work out their marriage. They may even feel a sense of abandonment and guilt when a parent chooses to leave. Children from divorced families are more susceptible to feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self esteem. (Kelly J., Child and Adolescent Adjustment in Divorce).

Behavioral Effects. The emotional effects that occur when a child deals with divorce usually leads to a change in the child’s behavior. In younger children, it is typical to see more whining and clinging to their parents. In older children, however, it is not unusual to see outbursts of anger. Behaviors that children of divorce fall prey to are most commonly behaviors that could be associated with rebellion. They are more likely to fight against authority of both their parents as well as other adult authority that may be in their life. Frequently breaking rules, problems with defiance and failure to accept responsibility are all ways that children may change in behavior. Children of divorce are more likely to commit a juvenile crime. Some children go into periods of isolation and withdrawal from their friends and family. Changes in sleep patterns are commonly seen as well. There are more serious behavior changes that may occur in children of divorce such as: drug or alcohol abuse, destructive behaviors, increased or early sexual activity which has resulted in more pregnancies outside of marriage, and thoughts of suicide or other types of violence. Academic Effects. Research over the years has shown that overall; children that come from divorced families tend to have lower grades as well as lower scoring on tests. Also, they are less likely to graduate from high school (Kelly J., Child and Adolescent Adjustment in Divorce). The stress of divorce...
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