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Divorce and the Effect on Children

By kah0911 Apr 03, 2005 1314 Words
Divorce and the Effect on Children Kathryn Hill Period 6
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In years past, the American Dream for most young girls' is to grow up and be married to Prince Charming and to "Live Happily Ever After!" Although this may be expected - it is rarely fulfilled. Marriage is the legal and binding union between a man and woman. Yet when couples marry, they vow to stay by their partner's side ‘till death do us part.' Currently that vow seems to have little or no value in today's society. The current statistics for survival of marriage are quite grim. The divorce rate in the United States is somewhere between 50 percent and a startling 67 percent. (KSL News) One contributing factor the growing epidemic of divorce is the parting of different family members or the breakup of the family unit, as well as effect it may have upon the children or the other spouse.

When the family is broken up it can lead to divorce and ultimately many negative implications. It may have effect on the mental stability as well as create even more conflict and tension between others. Research evidence has shown that marital distress and conflict within a marriage causes a wide range of negative effects on the children of the feuding spouses. Many of the effects upon the children include depression, isolations, social inadequacy, mental health issues and academic status decreases. A study conducted in 1991suggests that out of 13000 people, the children that come from a divorced family tended to have poor academic performance and displayed more behavior problems. Some American couples suggest the divorce may be a way to solve their problems quickly and perhaps, more easily, rather than taking the time to work things out through counseling and other alternatives.

When divorce occurs it does not just happen between those that are married, everyone in relation to the divorcee's are effected. This suggests a "community divorce," and presents many other dilemmas. Community divorces contribute to conflicts between mutual friends and create tension between certain family members. More often than not, children are in the middle of the divorce and feel that it may their fault. A lot of the time, the children's welfare is not properly taken into account. Although some situations allow for flexibility, for example: growing up in an abusive home versus the separation of two parents. Nonetheless, parents may become over occupied with the conditions of the divorce and begin to satisfy their own needs. Ultimately, parents often lack the ability to realize that a majority of divorces may be resolved.

Furthermore, assumptions about divorce may be primarily be connected to the idea that happy homes create happy children whereas, unhappy, separated homes create the children to have problems. Moreover, what should be taken into account is that children learn what they live and that parents are role models. Not only do parents create the ideal of a good work ethic, skills, communication, logic but also commitment. In relation, the cycle of abuse also may be taught to a child. If a child sees abuse in the home he or she is more likely to exhibit the same actions compared to children from non - violent environments. Parents are still the bearers of large responsibilities according to their children and cannot just blame it on the media any longer. Although divorce is seen by many Americans as an unfortunate ending to a chapter in life, many still make the choice.

Moreover, the essential idea of marriage is that to create a healthy relationship that there must be a bond of love as well as maintaining their own identities. The converging of two individuals cause tension and usually end up in conflict. When two parents disagree either one of them gets hurt or a child feels it is their fault and responsibility. status. The economic burden may become to hard for one parent to maintain either leaving the other parent to search for work in the labor force or to be pressured to meet ends. Life in general is quite costly and divorces are highly priced to everyone but the judge over-seeing the case. After divorces, many women feel the burden of having to support themselves after so many years being taken care of. A lot lack skills and ability and some lack education. In some cases, males often benefit from the divorce economically. Some men stay single, ultimately avoiding the burden of another partner or family. Furthermore, when women are granted custody, men are court ordered to pay child support. Whether the men have an obligation to pay for their family, many do not and if they choose to do so it may not be enough or it may not be on time. Due to the lack of funds, many seek the assistance of the government.

Furthermore, the difference between the children from divorced backgrounds and non-divorced backgrounds are contributed to 6 factors (1). the first is the loss of a parent. This may lead to the lack of emotional and financial depravation. The second is the economic loss. Single parent families are given a great burden to sufficiently provide for each other. This may suggest further isolation for the children. The third is the increase in stress. Not only may children feel the responsibility of the divorce but they must also deal with some of the conditions and circumstances. For example, changing homes between parents may be inconsistent for the child. Children may also feel stress with their friends and may feel pressured to make new friends. The fourth factor is the parent's adjustment to the situation. If parents adjust poorly the effects on the child may become more long term and perhaps, contribute to the children being in divorced situations in their future. The fifth factor includes the parent's competency. The growing process for children is greatly aided by their parents and the parents serve as the example. Acting out or not showing proper choices may demonstrate bad behavior that the child is likely to acquire. The sixth and final factor is conflict between parents whereas, constant conflict has harmful effects on the well being of the child.

Most important, a divorce may have a lot of negative consequences for the children or the entirety of the family. In some situations divorce may be the best alternative to ensure the safety or the stability of a family. Unfortunately, in other situations the divorce may be the catalyst to use the children to obtain certain wants between spouses. Ultimately, the best suggestion is to try to work things out and seek assistance and help first, and if things are irreconcilable then divorce is an option. People must take realize that divorce is not just the separation of feelings of love between to people - it is the parting of a lifestyle and stability for the children involved.


Amato, P. R. (1993). Children's adjustment to divorce: Theories, hypotheses, and empirical support. JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY, 55, 23-38.

Amato, P.R. (1994). Life-span adjustment of children to their parents' divorce. THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN, 4, 143-164.

Amato, P. R., & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysis. PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 110, 26-46.

Hetherington, E. M. (1993). An overview of the Virginia Longitudinal Study of Divorce and Remarriage with a focus on the early adolescent. JOURNAL OF FAMILY PSYCHOLOGY, 7, 39-56.

Hughes, R., Jr. (1996) INTERNET IN - SERVICE ON CHILDREN AND DIVORCE, (January 8, ‘04)

© American Responsible Divorce Network


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