The Effect of Divorce on Children

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The Effect of Divorce on Children

Divorce, once uncommon in our society, is now becoming more and more frequent, disrupting our children's state of well-being. Some children of divorced families have long-term behavior problems such as depression, low self-esteem, poor school performance, acting out, and difficulties with intimate relationships. Children with divorced or divorcing parents often have a sense of abandonment, because their parents become too preoccupied with their own psychological, social, and economic distress that they forget about their kids? needs (Lamb and Sternberg, 1997). In 1988, Professor Jeanne Dise-Lewis conducted a survey of 700 middle school students. The students were asked to rate certain events as to the stress they causes. The death of a parent or close family member was the only thing that outranked divorce (Zinsmeister, 1996). A divorce in the family creates a major life change for most children. Loss of contact with friends, schoolmates, neighbors, teachers, and sometimes moving to a new location may bring a lot of psychosocial stress upon the children, and that stress can be very harmful.

Since the divorce boom started in the 1960?s, father-mother divorces have increased at an alarming rate. Today more than 1,000,000 kids experience a divorce in the family every year in the United States alone (U.S.A. Today, p. 8). As a result of the divorce, many children live in single-parent homes. This usually results in a drop in income for the family. Remarriage creates step families. Children often have a hard time adjusting to this new situation. Many of the remarriages end in divorce. As children see these marriages end, they may become more likely to accept divorce as they ente...

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...e parents. "Divorce is now the single largest cause of childhood depression. Marital disruption, quite clearly, can wound children for years" (Zinsmeister, 1996).


Doob, Christopher Bates, Sociology, and Introduction, 5th ed. (Fort Worth: Hartcourt Brace College Publishers, 1997), p 142.

Driedger, Sharon Doyle. (1998) After Divorce [On-Line] Available:

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Lamb, Michael E. and Sternberg, Kathleen J. (1997) The Effects of Divorce and Custody Arrangements on Children?s Behavior, Development and Adjustment [On-Line]. Available:

?Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Kids,? U.S.A. Today May 1996: 8.

Zinsmeister, Karl. (1996) Divorce?s Toll on Children [On-Line] Available:
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