Divorce Relationship

Satisfactory Essays
A divorce can affect the traditional family dynamic in a multiple ways, including the relationship between children and their parents. The relationship between adolescent children and their parents in post-divorce families is often strained as a result of poor communications. Research indicates that a high degree of conflict between former spouses is one of the strongest detrimental influences on children and parent–child relations (Afifi & Schrodt, 2003). Two key behavior phenomena that can be observed in adolescents, in respect to their relationship to their divorced parents, are “feeling caught” as a mediator and inappropriate parental divorce disclosures. It has been suggested that, because older children have developed cognitive maturity, parents tend to rely on their adolescent offspring to provide support and advice, resulting in increased pressures and responsibilities (Wright & Maxwell, 1991). It is important to examine the impact of divorce and its relational outcomes to further understand and prevent additional complications within the family unit. Therefor the purpose in this review of literature is to illuminate the underlying factors of divorce that strain the relations between the separated parents and their adolescent children.
Feeling Caught as a Mediator
As satisfaction within a marriage deteriorates, complications between the couple influence the child’s satisfaction within the family unit. Over time, children learn how to mediate arguments between their adult parents in order to seek a communicative agreement. This function, among others, puts children in a place where they feel as if they need to choose a side, one parent or the other. The reason this occurs is because their parents’ demand-withdraw pattern...

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...e a greater communication satisfaction within the post divorce family unit.
It can be concluded that the complex changes in life circumstances that an adolescent experiences throughout and after a divorce can alter relations with one or both parents. Main factors such as children feeling caught between parents and inappropriate parental divorce disclosures can effect parent-child relations in both positive and negative ways. Overall, learning how to communicate in a constructive manner has proven to allow parents to minimize negative effects of divorce on their adolescent children and maintain healthy relations. Future research studies need to be conducted in order to determine which communication strategies work best to prevent negative relations between adolescent children and their divorced parents, assuming the relationship was intact prior to the separation.