In the last 50 years or so, family life has changed becoming more diverse and complex, which has been the source of research by social scientists especially the effects of divorce on children. Marriage is no longer an institution that couples need to suffer if times are difficult, divorce is easier and cohabitation is more morally acceptable. The ideology of the nuclear family whilst not outdated is not the only type of family in which to raise children. The modern more complex family arrangements include step families, lone parents, step sibling relationships and shared care arrangements, which are the subject of more recent research. For the purpose of this study it will focus on the research relating to divorce and the new arrangements for children.
One psychological study reported divorce as pathological; possibly in the early days using moral judgements to imply that ‘divorce is bad for children’.
‘They feel that their childhood has been lost forever. Divorce is a price they pay, as forfeit to their parents’ failures, jeopardizing their future lives’ (Wallerstein and Blakeslee, 1989, p. 43)
More modern liberalised studies are comparing the divorced with the non-divorced children, to demonstrate that divorced families may have been labelled wrongly and in some cases may be a positive change. It is this more optimistic viewpoint which this research seeks to promote.
As families are changing; the ideological nuclear family which existed in the past is less common, and attitudes are changing (Kelly 2003, p 237). C...
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...hood , 10, 131-146.
Pryor, J., & Rodgers, B. (2001). Children in Changing Families Life After Parental Separation. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.
Simpson, B. (1998). Changing Families: An ethnographic approach to divorce and separation. Oxford: Berg.
Smart, C. (2003). Introduction: New Perspectives on Childhood and Divorce. Childhood , 123-129.
Smart, C., & May, V. (2007). The Parenting Contest: Problems of Ongoing Conflict over Children. In M. Maclean (Ed.), Parenting after Partnering, containing conflict after separation (pp. 65 - 80). Oxford: Hart Publishing.
Trinder, L. (2007). Dangerous Dads and Malicious Mothers: The Relevance of Gender to Contact Disputes. In M. Maclean (Ed.), Parenting after Partnering, containing conflict after separation (pp. 81-94). Oxford: Hart Publishing.
Wallerstein, J. S., & Blakeslee, S. (1989). Second Chances. Reading: Corgi.
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