Divorce is a very common word in today's society. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage or a complete or radical severance of closely connected things"(Pickett, 2000). This dissolution of marriage has increased very rapidly in the past fifty years. In 1950 the ratio of divorce to marriage was one in every four; in 1977 that statistic became one in two. Currently one in every two first marriages results in divorce. In second marriages that figure is considerably higher, with a 67% average (National Vital Statistics Report, 2001). One critical aspect of divorce is often not taken into consideration: How it affects children. Every year 1.1 million children are affected by divorce (Benjamin, 2000). Children from divorce or separation often exhibit behavioral and long-term adjustment problems (Kelly, 2000). Throughout this paper I will discuss divorces effects on children at different age levels, how they react, and what can be done to help them.
Divorces in the United States are often only thought about from a single perspective, that being the two spouses involved. However, children are severely affected by the aftermath of divorces probably even more so than the parents, especially on the long-term basis. About one third of children experience this fallout, and of those divorces only a third claim to have done all they could to save their marriages (Holst). Based on middle-class cultural norms in modern society, both the psychological and physical effects on children from parental separation constitute many factors during and after the divorce.
The Impact of Parental Divorce on a Child Divorce has increased dramatically since the beginning of this century. Unfortunately, the probability that a marriage will today end in a divorce is a whopping 50 percent. Also, the average duration of a marriage has decreased from 17 years in 1971 to just over 9 years in 1990 (Halonen & Santrock, 1997).
While divorce gives parents a novel opportunity to begin a new life, it leads to an unfortunate twist in lifestyle for the children. In “What About The Kids? Raising Your Children Before, During, and After Divorce” Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D., a psychologist who spent 25 years of her life studying the effects of divorce on children, and Sandra Blakeslee, a scientist writer who has spent nearly all of her profession writing for New York Times, wrote, “Each decision to divorce begins a long journey that holds surprising, unexpected turns.”. Divorce leads to many unforeseen negative consequences for the children involved. Some frequent symptoms such as, anxiety, depression, guilt and grief emerge in the children’s behavior.
The effects of divorce can be both short and long term. Studies show that divorce can have positive and negative effects. The positive effects being that if a child is in a tumultuous, abusive, and violent household the process of divorce is a positive effect. The divorce process can be short and sometimes lengthy. Children are faced with challenges that they think will never end. Their mental, social, educational, and religious parts of life are pushed to unimaginable limits. With the right support system, strategies, and securities partnered with the comforts at home, children can lead healthy normal lives just as children from intact
“It is also estimated that between 40 percent and 50 percent of children born in the 1980s will experience the divorce of their parents before reaching age 18 (The influence of divorce on children).” These children of divorce have to go through the financial struggles of living pay check to pay check and live through this stress. All this stress leads to less focus on school and they begin to see lower academic achievement. This transition also effects them emotional and can even stick with them the rest of their life, ultimately impacting their own marriage in the future. With little attention left for them they turn to other activities for attention, including drugs and alcohol. Although some children come out of divorce a stronger individual, some go down the wrong path and see the negative side effects of
The argument over how divorce affects children is one that has been going on for a very long time. Some people believe when parents get a divorce the children are not affected at all, while others believe when parents get a divorce the children are affected by the impact of divorce more than anyone in the family. In some cases, married couples can be in such a terrible marriage that divorce can in no way be avoided, and these divorces are usually the ones that children benefit from and are affected in a positive way. Many times though, a couple will choose to get a divorce because their marriage is not exactly the way it used to be, and they want that aspect of life back; these are the divorces that negatively affect children. Even though in some cases divorce does not affect children negatively, many times when parents obtain a divorce, the children are negatively harmed in many different ways that will forever change their lives.
I. Introdution Divorce is a heavy concept that has many implications for those involved. The situation becomes even more consequential when children are considered. As divorce has become more commonplace in society, millions of children are affected by the separation of the nuclear family. How far-reaching are these effects? And is there a time when divorce is beneficial to the lives of the children?
Myers-Walls, J., & Karuppaswamy, N. (2013). The effect of divorce on children: What makes a difference. Retrieved from https://www.extension.purdue.edu/providerparent/family-child relationships/effectdivorce.htm
(2009). The effects of divorce on children (Order No. 1470847). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. (304998358). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304998358?accountid=458