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Effects of Divorce on Children

By odiachenko Dec 18, 2012 1649 Words
Divorce and Children.

Forum: familycouselor.com

Topic: “The Effects of Divorce on Children".
Thesis: As the consequences of divorce, the children’s lives get affected in a variety of ways, which can reveal themselves within a short period of time or throughout many years after the divorce, in their adulthood. Outlines:

1.  The biggest problems children face are financial:
a) negatively affects the emotional aspects of children's lives: a single parent has less time to provide emotional support and appropriate supervision; b) negatively affects the social aspects of children's lives: moving to a lower-income neighborhood;

2. Boys tend to suffer greater emotional and psychological problems following a divorce than do girls: a) boys show aggression, disruption, acting out behavior; b) girls show less immediate effects;

3. Divorces with predivorce parental conflict:

a) behavioral and emotional adjustment problems: dropping of the school, higher rates of premarital pregnancy and fatherhood, infidelity, problems with anger management;

4. . Long term effects on children:

a)more likely to divorce after marrying;
b) always afraid of loss;
c) problems in intimate relationships.

When parents decide to divorce or separate, their children are faced with multiple stressors, affecting children negatively in a number of ways. Before starting the separation and divorce process, the parents have to understand and be prepared to deal with the traumatic effects it has on the children. It is the children, who suffer the most from divorce. Consequences of divorce can be different for children, depending on their level of development, age and sex, but in any case, the children suffer before and after divorce. As the consequences of divorce, the children’s lives get affected in a variety of ways, which can reveal themselves within a short period of time or throughout many years after the divorce, in their adulthood. During divorce, the children's mentality and vulnerable souls demand great attention, understanding and advertence. During this period the children seek from the parents of emotional empathy to their pain, more delicacy and proximity, both spiritual and physical. This requirement is extremely necessary for unstable children's mentality but often a single parent has less time to provide emotional support and appropriate supervision to the children. As Gale research center’s researchers find, the need for income might mean that a single parent has less time to provide emotional support and appropriate supervision. Families headed by a single woman with children represent the poorest of all major population groups, regardless of how poverty is measured. Nearly a third of single-mother families live in poverty, compared to about 5 percent of two-parent families. This situation is aggravated by the fact that about one-quarter of women granted child supports do not receive it. Another quarter receives less than is ordered by the court. Following a divorce, a family may have to move to a lower-income neighborhood, which weakens the child's connections to existing friends and neighbors. It also may mean that a child has to attend poorer quality schools or give up extracurricular activities (22). Boys seem to fare worse than girls in a divorce. They tend to suffer greater emotional and psychological problems. Boys show more maladjustment and more prolonged problems than girls in response to divorce. For boys, the increase of aggression, dependency, disobedience is greater than for girls and the effects of divorce persist for a longer period of time. Kendra Randall Jolivet compares the effect of divorce on boys and girls as separate groups. Although children vary in the way they adapt to divorce, boys tend to suffer greater emotional and psychological problems following a divorce than do girls. The effect on boys appeared more immediate and dramatic. Boys were found to be prone to aggression, disruption, acting-out behaviors, and developmentally vulnerable. Girls, however, tend to show the effects less immediately and over time and culminating in a range of negative behaviors in adolescence. During adolescence girls show an increased rate of running away, skipping school, sexual promiscuity, and acting out (177). A lot of the times, mothers get whole custody over children and boys have limited contact with their fathers so they may feel relative loss of their fathers more acutely than do girls. The most stressful period in the transition from married to divorced life for the children as well as for their parent is during the period immediately before the separation, which can be full of mistrust, disagreements and frustration. Kendra Randall Jolivet illustrates, the way the parents handle the predivorce difficulties could put the children at risk for significant long-term effects. Divorces that include predivorce parental conflict, diminished support and contact with one or both parents and loss of economic resources are indicators that parents may be putting a child at risk. More specifically predivorce parental conflict concerning child-related issues, such as custody, child support, and child rearing practices have been closely associated with child adjustment problems. The effect of high-conflict divorce on children roughly doubles the rate of behavioral and emotional adjustment problems. These children may also have a tendency toward lower rates of education, early marriage, living together before marriage, leaving home because of family difficulties, having higher rates of premarital pregnancy and fatherhood and a group of behaviors which can be described as: lower commitment to marriage, infidelity, problems with anger management, feelings of insecurity, neediness, demandingness, denial and blame, contempt, and poor conflict resolution skills, higher levels of depression, and more problems with peers (176). Children with divorced parents are at increased risk of experiencing psychological problems in adulthood. They experience greater unhappiness, less satisfaction with life, more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Judith Wallerstein points out that the major impact of divorce is really in adulthood. The early reaction is very painful, but it fades after a few years if the family is reasonably functioning. The average number of years it takes is about three and a half or four years. But the major impact of divorce on the child is in adulthood, when the man-woman relationship moves center stage(1). The negative effects make take the place, when children make transition to adulthood. A time when the children leave homes, reach their education level, plan their careers, become financially independent, marry and create their own families, presents many challenges to children of divorced parents due to weak ties to parents. Kendra Randall Jolivet notes that adults having experienced the divorce of their own parents as children have higher rates of divorce and maladjustment in adulthood. Another study of divorce, by Dr. Amato and Dr. Danelle D. DeBoer, has observed over 2,000 married individuals and 335 of their children who also married during a 17 year study period. They discovered that divorces were more common among children whose parents had divorced than among those whose parents stayed married(177). Judith Wallerstein warns that the other residue in adulthood is the fact that almost all of the children of divorce, as adults, suffered with a residue of symptoms in which they were afraid that disaster would strike suddenly, unaware. The happier they were, the better their life, the better their job, the better their love life, the better their relationship, the better their children, the more frightened they became that they would lose it. Author explains that it is clearly related to the fact that so few of them expected the divorce when it happened. From children’s point of view, everything was going well and BOOM—the floor fell out from under them. We always tell everybody lightning doesn't strike twice because profoundly in our heart, we know it strikes twice. We all believe it strikes twice, so we reassure ourselves with false reassurances, and this is the fear of lightning striking twice. Judith Wallerstein suggests that the fear of loss never goes away and concludes that a child of divorce ever fully trusts another person(2). Parental divorce negatively affects the quality and stability of children’s intimate relationships in adulthood. Children of divorced parents more likely to experience dissatisfaction, problems and conflict in their own marriages. Reaching adulthood, they have a weak commitment to lifelong marriage and difficulties in maintaining stable, balanced relationships so those factors severely impact quality of their intimate relationship. It is clear that divorce can have profound effects on everyone involved. Divorce doesn't rescue children. For a lot of adults, it changes their lives very much for the better. Divorce in the life of a child is entirely different than in the life of an adult. For an adult, it is a remedy. It brings a bad chapter of my life to an end and opens the door, and hopefully, with any luck. But for the child, it's not a remedy it's the loss of the family with many consequences, which creates a whole negative chain reaction. As the consequences of divorce, the children’s lives get affected in a variety of ways, which can reveal themselves within a short period of time or throughout many years after the divorce, in their adulthood.

Works cited
"Divorce." Current Issues: Macmillan Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale,

2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

K. Lee Lerner, Brenda, Wilmoth Lerner, and Adrienne Wilmoth Lerner,ed.

"Why Divorce Is Bad." Family in Society: Essential Primary

Sources. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 49-52. Gale Opposing

Viewpoints In Context. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.

Jolivet, Kendra Randall. "The Psychological Impact Of Divorce On
Children: What Is A Family Lawyer To Do?." 

American Journal Of Family Law 25.4 (2011): 175-183. 

Web. 14 Nov. 2012.

Wallerstein, Judith. "Divorce Has a Lasting Negative Impact." The Family. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "What about the Children?Marriage—Just a Piece of Paper? " Ed. Katherine Anderson, Don Browning, and Brian Boyer. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002. 92-105. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

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