Adolescence is a period of turmoil and change for youngsters. During this time in their lives, adolescents experience many difficult events and are showered with all kinds of stresses. Some of these stresses include identity crisis, relationships with family members and friends, and most of all the physical changes that take place. Adolescence is a very trying time and it can be heightened when divorce is an additional problem to be dealt with. Divorce only adds to the turmoil and hardships of adolescence. The effects of a divorce can leave an individual feeling lonely and at fault for the break up of their parents
Divorce is a family crisis, which could require a long period for recovery. Along with the turmoil associated with the adolescent stage of life, divorce adds other stresses. Adolescents are already confronted with numerous changes, including physical changes in the body and social adoptions, that the changes that occur as a result of a divorce could be overwhelming. They are also in the transition stage of separating themselves from their parents and developing into an adult. The adolescent is at the stage of development in which he must separate himself from his parents on order to establish as an adult"(Anderson, p.70).
Be in socially accepted is one of the more important aspects of this developmental stage. The development of relationships with friends allows for them to form an identity. The adolescent only accepts his or her identity if, and only if, the society feels that it is correct. Otherwise, they may feel inadequate and isolated from everyone else because the do not fit in with everyone else's standards(Anderson,14)
This developmental stage in one's life in conjunction with the effects of a divorce, make the changes much more difficult to overcome and accept. " How an adolescent copes with the problems of a divorce depends upon their emotional health and maturity level,"(Anderson, p.71). Each individual may react in his or her own way. Some of these reactions can consist of hostility towards family, especially their parents, aggressiveness, and/or depression. They may make sudden choices that they might feel could be the answer to their problem. For instance, constant running away might occur which results in secluding oneself.
The behavior of females at this crucial time seems to be more of a disturbance, while the males showed to be more severe. The most negative behavior was seen in the boys, where they would possess an opposition. Females seemed to be more whining and complaint. Males have a tendency to break out in tears at any given time for no apparent reason. McGuire, who studied adolescents and the effects of divorce, concluded that, " boys exhibit more dramatic changes in behavior, characterized by abrupt release of aggressive and destructive feelings,"(McGuire, 125). Overall, males seem to have a more difficult time adjusting to the change of the family structure after the divorce. In order to make this easier on them the parents should help by maintaining some stability in their life. For instance, staying in the same house, the same neighborhood, and keeping them in the same school.
Adolescents also develop mixed emotions and have mood swings, which makes the relationship with their family members difficult to maintain. Males have a difficult time dealing with fact that they are lacking a father figure. They sometimes feel as if they were betrayed and no longer loved by him. This rejection from their father adds to the difficult time for adolescents. The are continuously wishing for a reunion of their parents. In some cases, harsh feelings and negativity are displayed towards the mother because of the father missing. Females, on the other hand, lean toward their friends as support figures. They try not to allow the divorce to bring them down. " They were happier and also more likely to view the divorce as an improvement to their family situation prior to the separation,"...
Bibliography: Anderson,Hal,W., Mom and Dad are Divorced, But I am not. Nelson-Hall, Chicago,
Cherlin, Andrew, Divided Families. Harvard University Press, Cambridge , Maine,
Grossman, Tracy Barr, Mothers and Children Facing Divorce. UMI Research Press,
Ann Arbor, Michigan,1986.
McGuire, Paula, Putting it Together. Delacorte Press, New York, NY, 1987.
http://www.marriagebuilders.com (the author of His and Her needs)
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