The Impact of Parental Divorce on a Child

analytical Essay
1627 words
1627 words

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). Halonen & Santrock claim that although divorce has risen for all socioeconomic groups, those in disadvantaged circumstances have a higher incidence of divorce. Suggesting that marriage at a young age, low educational levels, and low income are associated with increases in divorce. For most, divorce is extremely painful. Unfortunately, children are not excluded from related suffering. It is safe to assume that with such a high occurrence of divorce in our society that more and more children are being affected. For example, increasing numbers of children are growing up in single-parent families. There is no doubt that divorce involves quite a disequilibrium in children's lives. Doctor Judith Gold takes the issue further claiming that divorce is one of the most severe psychological stressors for children (Gold, 1992). There are many factors which mediate the effects of divorce on children. It is important to remember that family structure (a divorced versus a non-divorced family) is only one of the many factors that influence children's adjustment (Gold, 1992). Some circumstances which affect a child's adjustment to divorce are: (1) support systems, (2) the relationship between the custodial parent and the ex-spouse, (3) parenting styles, (4) gender of the child and the gender of the custodial parent, and (5) the age of the child at the time of the... ... middle of paper ... ... On a more positive note, Ann has recently been seeking the help of a counselor to deal with some of the issues she is facing. She reports that it is helping her dramatically. She believes for the first time she can truly express to someone what she is feeling. Ann's goals are to feel better about herself and improve her outlook on her world. She hopes to one day have less difficulties is social relationships and perhaps one day be able to trust someone enough to fall in love. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Ann. I wish her the best in all her future endeavors. Bibliography: Gold, Judith H. Divorce as a Developmental Process. New York: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.. 1992. Halonen, Jane S. & Santrock, John W. Human Adjustment (2nd edition). Indiana: Brown & Benchmark Publishers. 1997.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the impact of parental divorce on a child divorce has increased dramatically since the beginning of this century.
  • Argues that divorce is one of the most severe psychological stressors for children.
  • Opines that family structure is only one of the many factors that influence children's adjustment.
  • Explains halonen & santrock's claim that the best approach for evaluating effects on children is one which advocates assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the child prior to the divorce.
  • Explains that they chose to focus this paper on the impact of parental divorce on a child. they interviewed 20-year-old ann to better understand the adjustment process.
  • Explains that ann's father was the dominant parental figure with her mother being submissive to him. every rule was to be followed precisely, without exceptions.
  • Analyzes how ann's father became abusive towards his wife and stricter on his children. the children were united for they now had the additional duty of trying to protect their mother.
  • Narrates how ann's mother filed for divorce when she was nine years old in an attempt to provide a more preferable environment for her impressionable children.
  • Narrates how they spent several months residing with different relatives until the family could find another permanent home. they remember feeling sad and isolated, which ruled out the possibility of establishing close relationships.
  • Analyzes ann's feelings of inferiority and depression throughout the interview. she admits being needy and feeling deprived of a "normal" family life.
  • Opines that ann has identified with her low self-esteem but feels there is not much she can do to improve it. dr. gold claims that girls internalize problems of divorce which seems exactly the case for ann.
  • Analyzes how ann experienced difficulties in social relationships in the first few years following the divorce discussed by dr. gold. she accepted that she didn't develop normal communication skills because of her extraordinary situation.
  • Analyzes how ann's divorce was a major change in parenting techniques. she switched from strict rule under her father to permissive-indulgent parenting style.
  • Narrates how they were surprised when they asked ann to distinguish between her life at home prior to and post separation.
  • Analyzes how she feels she may have attended college under the controlling rule, something which she has no intention of doing.
  • Analyzes how ann's interviewee attended a catholic school from kindergarten to junior high. she had close relationships with her teachers and believes they were positive role models for her.
  • Describes how ann's life was disrupted when she left her small school to attend a public high school with over 3000 students. she experienced depression and loneliness associated with the top dog phenomenon.
  • Analyzes how ann's loneliness led to a tremendous decrease in her self-esteem, which has taken her much effort to improve, even if only slightly.
  • Opines that dr. gold makes some important points, which are relevant to ann's case. she states that there are long-term and lasting effects in the nonclinic population of divorced children.
  • Opines that ann has not seen or heard from her father since a few months after the divorce, eleven years ago. she blames him entirely.
  • Analyzes how ann's cynicism towards love and trust is not in her vocabulary. she believes that once someone takes advantage of your trust they will continue to do so repeatedly.
  • Analyzes how carl rogers states that the greater the discrepancy between the real and ideal self the more.
  • Agrees with the statement that ann believes everything she portrays is negative. she repeatedly compares herself to her friends, herself being the inadequate one.
  • Analyzes how ann dislikes her physical appearance. she can't accept flattery because she has little self worth and low self esteem.
  • Opines that ann's problems are not due to her parents' divorce, but her case does relate to researched effects of divorce on children.
  • Opines that a major hurdle for ann was the complete loss of her relationship with her father. dr. gold states that contact between the noncustodial parent and the child is critical to the future.
  • Opines that ann's goals are to feel better about herself and improve her outlook on her world.
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