Thesis Statement: Due to the debilitating nature of the experience of divorce, society needs to be educated on the long-lasting effects it can cause on children, and measures that can be taken to mitigate its effects.
Parental divorce is the most common type of childhood adversity, second only to family socioeconomic disadvantage.
Due to the debilitating nature of divorce experience, society needs to be educated on the long-lasting effects it can cause on children, and measures that can be taken to mitigate its effects.
This paper will incorporate the statistics from several sources dealing with problems children face throughout their lifetime as a consequence of divorce, and the approaches that can be pursued to reduce its impact during their formative stages of life.
There can be many effects to children whose parents have separated through divorce
Psychological disorders are common in children of divorced parents
Psychological problems result from the absence of one parent in the context in which a child lives.
Any child who feels the absence of one parent increases their risk of developing mental problems.
Psychological effects of divorce can be manifested in children in many ways
a). Children with the experience of divorce have been found to be a have a higher risk of developing depression compared to the ones with both parents
b). Many children of divorce develop anxiety resulting from the uncertainty caused by the exit of one parent and scientific evidence suggests that the effect is more in younger children compared to older ones
c). It has been proved that heightened depression exposes children hailing from divorced families to a higher risk of developing bi-polar disorder.
Behavioral and social deformities are also typical of child victims of divorce
1. Behavioral inadequacies can be expressed in varied ways
a) A child is at a greater risk of developing a violent/ aggressive behavior if parents are divorced
b) It has been proven that children of divorce are more likely to be disobedient with varying degrees of intensity compared to the ones with both parents staying together
2. Social problems relate to the way a child of divorce disregard the norms of society
a) Overwhelming evidence from family-oriented studies suggest that a majority of children of divorce have a higher tendency to fail in forming social relationships e.g. between friends and teachers
b) Higher alcohol and drug abuse incidences have been found in teens and adolescents whose parents divorced
Divorce hampers the development of the cognitive abilities of children
Cognitive impairment occurs due to many reasons
Exposure of children to adversity
Psychological effects such as anxiety
Poor development of the executive functioning portion of the brain
Although divorce may not be erased from society, giving the impact of divorce on children more attention than what it is accorded today through public education can lessen the extent to which children suffer from divorce experiences every year
There are many statistics relating to divorce showing the extent of the problem and how many children continue to suffer due to lack of necessary support systems in society
The statistics suggest the situation of divorce is getting worse each year
From the 44 reporting states, there were 827, 261 cases of divorce reported in the United States in 2017, a significant increase from the previous year
Records at the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 10 divorces occur in every 1000 persons
At least 1, 205,000 children below 12 years lived with one divorced parent with the majority living with their mothers
It has been proved that living with one parent is more detrimental to the child than the ones living with both parents
Divorce can be found in couples of any religion, race, age, social background
One study found that divorce rates are much higher for couples aged above 50 years with the percentage increasing with younger couples though number of divorcees below 50 years remains significantly high
Many studies have consistently shown that the rate of divorce is highest among African-Americans when a condition of ever getting married is factored
Many divorced couples have been found to lack the necessary skills to deal with the aftermath of divorce which adversely affects children who live with them
Providing counselling and other support programs can be an effective tool in mitigating the suffering children of divorce undergo
Advising families on the negative effects of divorce on children can create awareness on how to deal the divorce, especially regarding its effect on children
Educating couples on how to deal with the aftermath of divorce can help reduce the spill-over effect on children
Provision of legal counsel has the potential to reduce conflicts after the divorce has occurred
Although divorce is unavoidable in the current social set-up, the long-term effects it has on children makes it imperative for couples to be educated on how to deal with its aftermath to secure a better future for the involved children.
Divorce is a major social issue not only in the United States but also in many other parts of the world. Going through divorce can be damaging to the involved parties. Although some of the affected persons eventually get over it after some time, many suggest that it is the worst phase of a couple's married life as it often results in decreased level of personal happiness , emotional problems, and financial upheavals. However, the greatest casualties in the whole divorce experience are children. Divorce can have severe consequences on the life of children which can last even up to adulthood. Studies show that it is the most common type of childhood adversity, second only to family socioeconomic disadvantage with Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia topping the list of the states where children experience most divorce adversity(Richards and Wadsworth 922; Sacks et al.9). Due to the debilitating nature of the experience of divorce, society needs to be educated on the long-lasting effects it can cause on children, and measures that can be taken to mitigate its effects.
Adverse Effects of Divorce
Psychological Issues Associated with Children of Divorce
Psychological problems result from the absence of one parent in the context in which a child lives. In the study carried out by Fagan and Churchill , it was established that any child who feels the absence of one parent increases their risk of developing mental problems due the loss contact necessary for development a child's ability to deal with emotional disturbances(3-4, 28). Since divorce is a form of separation, it increases the risk of affected children developing psychological problems.
Psychological effects of divorce can be manifested in children in many ways, including depression and physiological disorders. Depression is an advanced form of anxiety and worry. A major mental effect of divorce is that it makes children withdrawn (Jeynes 115-17). That is to say, the affected children tend to isolate themselves by shying away from people or social situations. The study by Fagan and Churchill found that the periods before and after divorce are characterized by parental conflicts. These conflicts are accompanied by less affection and reduced responsiveness from the parents, leaving children insecure and emotionally deficient (13). Inadequate emotional support from both parents often leaves children distressed and disillusioned. Persistent depression can led to the development of advanced mental disorders. For instance, higher incidences of PSTD and bipolar disorder have been found in children of divorced parents (Fagan and Churchill 43). These outcomes may not only lower the quality of life of children but also affect their ability to achieve personal goals and objectives as adolescents or teenagers.
Behavioral and Social Effects of Divorce on children
Behavioral inadequacies are typical of child victims of divorce. 'Unconventional' behaviors are expressed in varied ways. Studies have shown that a child is at a greater risk of developing a violent/ aggressive behavior if parents are divorced. Such children are characterized by lose tempers and may not hesitate assaulting their fellow children or even adults (Fagan and Churchill 11). Research has attributed the higher propensity to display aggressiveness to the divorce experiences in childhood. According to Liu, et al. , environmental and psychosocial factors play an influential role in promoting aggressive behaviors among children and adolescents. Liu at al. argue that children acquire violent behaviors through social learning theory. They observe aggressive behaviors being employed around them to achieve a certain reward (e.g. resolution of a conflict) hence copy these behaviors as the best alternative to achieve a given objective (Liu at al. 161-62). In context, children who observe parents assaulting each other as they grow may develop this behavior as a mechanism of solving problems with their peers.
Lack of parental presence can also result in disobedient behaviors. It has been proven that children of divorce are more likely to be disobedient with varying degrees of intensity compared to the ones with both parents staying together (University of Pittsburgh).This may be attributed to the absence of parents in providing the emotional support required in childhood for sound growth and development of the child. However, Fagan and Churchill note that antisocial behavior decreases after divorce among highly dysfunctional families. The highlighted outcome means that the higher the level of dysfunction in a family before divorce the greater the reduction of a child's antisocial behaviors after a divorce (12).
Social Adverse Effects
Social problems relate to the way a child of divorce disregard the norms of society. In his research, William H. Jeynes established that children who live with one divorced parent have an earlier debut in sexual intercourse compared to their counterparts in intact families. However, the permissive attitudes towards premarital sex were noted to be higher in children who had spent four years after divorce compared to children of recent divorcees (Jeynes 115). In terms of gender, the study of Fagan and Churchill reveals that daughters are more likely to engage in pre-marital sex when the father is the parent living with them with Latinos having the highest percentage and African-Americans occupying the second position (16-17). Exposure to premarital sex may further create social problems. For instance, girls may drop out of school as a result of early pregnancies or contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. Such scenarios can also impact negatively on the social progression of the girls throughout their lifetime.
Failure to form successful and productive social relationships is also a major problem that divorce children face. The failure results from low level of trust that these children have in relationships having seen their parents bitterly separate. In social settings such as schools, these children tend to isolate themselves thereby failing to develop communication skills necessary for building relationships (Liu at al. 161; University of Pittsburgh). In romantic relationships, a child from a divorced family is more likely to be disinterested in relationships compared to their counterparts in intact families (Whitton et al. 789).On the same note, divorce status of a child's parents affects their perception about marriage. For instance, a child who grew up with a divorced parent is more likely to develop mistrust on the feasibility of a long-lasting, healthy marriage in adulthood with the confidence level...
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