The Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
"So many persons think divorce a panacea for every ill, find out, when they try it, that the remedy is worse than the disease" (Qtd in Harper 192). Divorce in any situation tears a child apart, tossing them from one house to another, limiting the time spent with their parents, and confusing them. There arent very many reasons that would show to be more beneficial for the parent to leave than to stay and keep their marriage. Usually its better for the children if their parents work through their differences rather than get a divorce.
To anyone, divorce is a horrible word. There is no way to make the word sound better or make it less painful. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, divorce is "the legal dissolution of marriage or the termination of an existing relationship or union" (Webster’s 370). This definition makes it seem formal and doesnt show the feeling that people have when the word is mentioned. To most children, divorce is much more than a legal dissolution; it is their whole world being torn apart and thrown on the ground in pieces.
One of the biggest problems that divorce imposes on children is the decision of who they should live with. Usually parents divorce when children are small and the children have no say in where they go. Since the child cant choose, this usually leads to custody battles that end in split custody or joint custody. Whatever the choice turns out to be, either one of them will be detrimental to the child.
When split custody is decided, it forces either the child or the court to choose which parent to live with and which one is in the childs best interest. It limits the time the child spends with both parenta. When the child only lives with one parent, the relationship with the other parent can be severely damaged. According to the National Survey of Children, close to half of all children with divorced parents have not seen their nonresidential parent in the past year, and only one in six had weekly contact (Whitehead 2). Since the children don’t see both their parents often, the parent that the child lives is usually thought of as strict and “no fun” because that parent is always there and is always responsible for disciplining the child. This can damage and cause social problems with the child. The nonresidential parent is usually viewed as the fun, exciting one that the child wants to be with. This parent usually tries to give the child presents, and money almost like they are using it in an attempt to “buy” the child’s love. The child doesnt usually feel the love and security of having a close family, since they are constantly moving from house to house. Because of the constant movement, the child doesnt usually receive quality time from either parent, and it makes it more difficult to feel loved.
Joint custody, on the other hand, proves to be even less successful (Zinmeister 29). This type of custody is now allowed in half of the states in the US, although, joint custody is very unusual because of the extreme complications. In California, where divorce is more common than anywhere else, only eighteen percent of divorced couples have joint custody. Even when the divorced parents maintain regular contact with their children, truly cooperative child rearing is rare (Zinmeister 29). Research shows, that the parents have no communication or mutual reinforcement; this usually leads to very unhealthy relationships with their children. Joint custody is even worse on a child because there is even more movement involved. With split custody, the child goes to the nonresidential parent’s house on a certain schedule. In joint custody, however, the child is constantly moves back and forth between houses, causing an even larger lack of time between parent and their child.
The custody battle can be damaging, but the divorce of a child’s parents can also confuse the child, suggesting that it is better for parents to...
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