“The Impact of Divorce on Children and It Solution” Divorce can be defined as a legal separation of a marriage due to many reasons that lead the parents to split up. In America about one half of all marriages today end up in divorce. “More than 12 million children younger than 18 years of age have divorced parents, and more than 1 million children younger than 18 years of age will experience divorce this year” (Lebowitz 5). The rate has been so high and with the causes and effects explained in this essay, it may become clear why. “More than a third of American children experience their parents’ divorce before reaching 18, and under many circumstances, the effects of divorce can have immediate and long-lasting consequences. With more than one million divorces occurring every year (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1996), divorce has become a frequent occurrence in the American society “(Dykeman). There are several reasons for divorce; some of them are drug, alcohol abuse, sexual preferences, physical violence, money problems, and children. Some other reasons for divorce have emerged in our society within the last decades. One of them is unmet expectations. It is when people justify a divorce by saying the marriage did not turn out the way they expected. These situations can be psychologically damaging, and in many ways can be as damaging as being physically abused, even if the other person is not doing any intentional harm.
Divorce is almost never a happy thing. However, the ones that are most affected by divorce are the children. “Recent studies have shown that children of divorce are more depressed, aggressive toward parents and teachers, more likely to develop mental and emotional disorders later in life, start sexual activity earlier, have more children out of wedlock, have problems with drug abuse, crime and even have been lead to suicide” (Leo 140).Getting over divorce tends to be a long process for many young children. Side effects of the divorce tend to be revealed as these children mature and seek personal adult relationships. Parents who deal with a divorce want to protect their children from the same stress and pain they usually feel. But avoiding the issue only increases the stress. Parents need to help their children understand that the entire family will have to learn to adapt to new schedules, new environments, and new ways of communicating.
Children that experience their parents’ divorce will have trouble in the future with numerous social developments in their life such as, school, socialization with peers, intimate relationships, etc. Although, the prevalence of divorce in our society has had emotional and psychological impacts on our children, there are several deliberate solutions to reduce these impacts; the best of these solutions is the child impact program to help children coping with divorce. First of all, divorce is an important problem because it has a big impact on children in psychological and social adjustments. Social and psychological well-being include aspects of personal adjustment, self-concept, interpersonal relationships, aggressive behavior, and cognitive functioning. Also it caused the child to suffer self-control, leadership, responsibility, independence, achievement orientation, and aggressiveness. It may or may not have a huge impact on their lives. Children who are in households without two parents usually display lower levels of well-being than the children in intact families. The effects of youthful well-being are especially acute when the cause of parental absence is marital separation, divorce, or desertion. “Research has looked into the effects divorce has on child and it has been statically proven that a failed marriage brings upon a noticeable effect on the child involved” (Leo 142). Emotional State of the child for many children, the news that their parents are splitting up comes as a complete surprise. Many parents fail to explain to their children what is happening either because they are too upset or the less said the better. However, when they do find out, the outcome would be different with age and sex of the child. Very young children, under the age of three, often do not understand what is going on. Those a bit older often feel they are to blame, and are afraid of losing the other parent. They cling to their parent, have nightmares, and need endless reassurance. Younger children tend to fantasize a great deal about their parents getting back together whereas for older children, it is a different perspective. Preadolescent children fail to see divorce as a logical solution and feel that their parents should stay together.
For adolescents, divorce may be seen as a relief in some instances, however there is pain. “Research also indicates that divorce is a very painful transition in the lives of all the members involved” (Leo 154). The emotional impact, however, will depend on the nature of the child. Divorce affects children of all ages and varies from child to child. Adolescent males often become more aggressive and destructive. Females, however, initially take things fairly well, assuming a lot of family responsibility. Divorce obviously affects both males and females. The two genders have shown that they are affected differently in some cases, though they are for the most part similar. In nearly all cases of divorce, one parent is forced to relocate. This can be a devastating experience for the child. Leaving behind friends and making new ones is difficult to do especially having to cope with his parent’s divorce on the side. One is most likely to feel isolated and lonely. Though, behavior may differ, every child will typically have certain psychological reactions to divorce: sadness, depression, denial, embarrassment, anger, guilt concern about being cared for, regression, maturity and physical symptoms. Acceptance of a divorce requires rational and caring communication from both parents. Patience and consideration for a child dealing with his parents’ divorce are foundational components to help him to full acceptance and recovery. In addition, the impact of divorce could have both mental and adjustment effects on children that lead to serious emotional problems that affect the child’s futuristic adulthood. Moreover, Children become more aggressive towards authority and develop psychological disorders later in life. “They tend to start sexual activities earlier, have children before marriage, are less probable to marry, and less likely to have a successful marriage. There is more of a likely good for drug abuse, criminal activities, and suicide.
These effects begin to appear when they start to seek romance and a marriage partner. They seek out unsuitable partners and to avoid conflict, sometimes avoid relationships as a whole. Anticipating failure, they create problems for themselves’’ (Leo 18). In addition, divorce appears to be particularly hard on adolescents. Children who experienced a parental divorce during adolescence are more likely to be involved in substance use and to report substance of problems use than children who experience no divorce. Adolescents from disrupted families also reported lower psychological well-being, lower self-esteem, lower sense of mastery, higher strain with parents, and more substance use than their counterparts from continuously married families. Their attitude will extend to other adults in their lives as well. These children are learning that they do not have to treat others with respect or follow rules and regulation. This is very serious because it often leads children to behave in illegal or physically abusive ways when they are older. Finally, Children’s reactions to divorce differ, depending on many aspects: the age and sex of the child, the amount of involvement with the nonresidential parent, the situation before the divorce or separation, the residential parent’s ease in adjusting to the divorce, parenting skills of both parents, agreement on child education and discipline, approval and love from both parents, openness to discussing the divorce with parents, degree of conflict between parents, economic hardship, and other stressors, such as moving, changing schools, and parental remarriage. Second of all, the impacts of divorce can be evaluated by several criteria. The first one is the negative effects on mental health. In terms of the short-term effects, there is evidence from many researchers across the country that parental divorce is associated with adjustment difficulties for their children. “The effects of divorce can include depressive symptoms, anxiety, anger, acting-out difficulties (belligerence, disobedience, and even delinquent acts), and falling school grades. Children may also exhibit a drop in self-esteem and self-confidence. However, not all children show such effects, in fact, some children actually show fewer problems following parental divorce” (Long and Forehand 3). The way a child reacts or is affected by the divorce, depends on how the process is carried out. Divorce is an understood and acceptable part of life, but because children lives are being significantly changed by something that they have no control over, something must be done. Parents should not be made to stay in a relationship, which is harmful to them; this situation may also have the same effects on the child. Divorces usually have a negative outcome when parents do not keep their emotions from affecting their children and when they do nothing to clarify the purpose of the separation. One alternative solution to this problem is coping programs.
One of these programs is “I CAN DO” program. A program designed not targeted at only children of broken homes, but children with different problems and experiences in general and a way to help them get through their time of suffering. Even though, this program is not highly successful to help children coping with divorce, it has good solutions to help families dealing with divorce. “The program was intended to be a type of preparation for children to cope with various stressors and how they might be helpful to peers who currently were experiencing stressful situations. Two clinical-psychology graduate students led each session, during the program” (Dubow 428). In this program parents will learn how to identify the problems, what choices are available to deal with the problems, pay attention to the information and consequences, narrow the choices down to one, and observe the outcome. Also Children are trained to use a sequence of problem-solving skills when faced with a social problem: problem identification, generation of alternative solutions, consideration of the consequences of those solutions, and choosing the best solution. Mainly, children are taught coping skills. The program also includes role-playing, videotapes, and small-group discussion. Children learn how to practice these skills in relation to the five stressful life experiences that occur to a significant number of children: (a) parental divorce, (b) loss of a loved one, (c) move to a new home/school, (d) spending significant amounts of time in a situation without adult supervision (self-care), and (e) feeling “different”- ethnically, physically, and so forth. The second group of problems is related to physical health. This suggests self-harm and high level stress. It is a well-known fact that many children suffer from stress, which is no less serious than the other diseases. “According to the Centre for Children’s Justice, Inc. 63% of suicides among children is because their father has been taken out of their lives by careless Family Court Judges. In addition, suicide rates for adolescents (ages 15 through 19) nearly doubled because of divorce. Since 1990, the overall suicide rate for this age group has stabilized at approximately 11 deaths per 100,000. Younger people are more likely to attempt and less likely to complete a suicide than older people” (Brown and Dombeck ). These cases are important and we should be considered about them. They make significant arguments to the negative evaluation of the impact of divorce on children. Another alternative solution to reduce the physical impacts of divorce on children is therapy or counseling before divorce. The counseling should not only be for the child, but for the parents also, a type of family counseling. “Parents, for example, may turn to their children for emotional support, affection and empathy, which should be provided by them and given to them. Children may also be expected to share the parents’ problems, dilemmas and secrets that in other circumstances they would be spared. When the parental alliance breaks down, parents are less able to distinguish their own needs from their children; the children are often induced to assume inappropriate roles or attempt to fulfill spousal/parental functions” (Guttmann and Rosenberg 458). With the counseling occurring before the actual divorce, all parties are given a chance to get their opinions and concerns heard and handled before any confrontation occurs.
A temporary trial period may also help the child adjust better to the new living arrangement. This way, when the child is placed in his new arrangement, he would be used to his new surrounding and it would not seem to be a sudden decision. It also gives him time to learn to accept the divorce. During the trial, the child should spend more time with the custody parent than with the parent whom he will not spend as much time with. The parents should also, at this time, explain to the child why the separation be best and how thing would be handled from the point on. There are good coping programs to help children cope with divorce and the best evaluated one is the impact child program. A number of factors may cause it not to work the way that it is intended, such as, the parents are not willing to work together in order to benefit their child, or one or both parents cannot make time in their schedules to make it to the therapy sessions. Also, the child may not feel comfortable talking to a therapist about one of the biggest events that will change his life. With the impact child program, the child may get use to the fact that his parents are no longer together, but May also get use to the idea of his parents living in the same house. The child impact program keeps the child from feeling singled out and helps him to understand that everyone goes through some type of painful experience. This also allows him to feel free to share his experiences and learn how other children deal with similar situation. Finally, the best proposed solution for helping children better adjust to the divorce of their parents is the child impact program. This program is the best because it provides all the positive aspects to help the children to cope with divorce. One of these aspects is Parent-child communication. When parents communicate effectively with their children, it helps children cope with all the changes that family restructuring involves. Effective communication can help children to understand that they are not the cause of their parent’s relationship failure, begin to see the positive side of change, instead of just the losses, accept the permanence of the
family change, find acceptable ways to express and to let go of anger, create a healthy self-esteem, which will help them make friends and succeed in school, and develop hope for future relationships by learning from others experiences.
The other aspect is Parent-parent communication. When parents communicate effectively with each other they are able to protect their children from their adult conflict by dealing directly with each other when the child is not present, protect their children from their adult conflict by dealing directly with each other when the child is not present, make fair financial agreements, make decisions in the best interest of their children, and create a cooperative parenting plan. In addition, this program can help the children to understand the reasons of their parents’ divorce and teach parents how to communicate with each other after the separation. The parents may no longer be partners, but they are still parents to children. After a separation, parents have several ways of communicating with each other. This program is especially good for parents who do not communicate at all, some are unable to do so. Some parents try to communicate and end up in arguments, while others are able to cooperatively, respectfully, and patiently talk with each other about their children. Some parents can be in touch fairly well with each other about their children some of the time while at other times they end up in conflict. Whether parents should try to communicate with each other depends upon several factors, such as safety of either parent and/or children, history of communication between the parents (problem solving and unresolved arguments) ,the ability of parents to focus the conversation on the children, now that parents live separately, willingness of each parent to end a conversation respectfully if tension escalates, willingness and ability of each parent to use written communication such as journals, e-mail, and letters if telephone or face-to-face communication is difficult or impossible. All the negative factors that result from divorce could be solved when the parent decide to get involved in these programs to reduce the impact of their separation over their kids. “Maintain a schedule of common activities.
The child needs the strong support provided by familiar faces and comfortable scenes. Lastly, it is recommended to parents not to let their quest for a new love life preoccupies their time at the expense of the child” (Walter et al. 78). In addition, this program is the best because it helps an ongoing communication between the parents after divorce. it benefits the parents to help their children to cope with divorce. Children’s reactions to all experiences in their lives depend on the skills they have developed, their histories, their individual temperaments, and their current situations. A child’s reactions to parents restructuring their family may be similar to the reactions of other children the same age, but they will also be unique, because each child is unique. This program also teaches the parents who to understand their child’s needs and likely reactions to prevent some of their distress, and to help them cope with their concerns. When they do this well, their child will keep developing in healthy ways, the relationship will be strengthened, and both of them will learn skills that will be helpful in the future. Some parents may not be able to follow some of these suggestions if they are not going to be spending regular time with their child. If the other parent is not supportive of them as they try to maintain a relationship with the child, it is going to be harder to help the child. If they are not in a position where they can help directly, it may still be useful to understand what the child is experiencing and what the other parent may be dealing with. They may be able to work toward a more supportive co-parenting relationship, and may be able to help their child cope with the situation later. In conclusion, although, the prevalence of divorce in our society has had emotional and psychological impacts in our children, there are several deliberate solutions to reduce these impacts; the best of these solutions is the child impact program to help children coping with divorce. Divorce is an important problem because it has a big impact on children in psychological and social adjustments. Social and psychological well-being includes aspects of personal adjustment, self-concept, interpersonal relationships, aggressive behavior, and cognitive functioning. Also it caused the child to suffer self-control, leadership, responsibility, independence, achievement orientation, and aggressiveness. It may or may not have a huge impact on their lives. Children that are in households without two parents usually display lower levels of well-being than the children in intact families. The effects of youthful well-being are especially acute when the cause of parental absence is marital separation, divorce, or desertion.
Research has looked into the effects divorce has on child and it has been statically proven that a failed marriage brings upon a noticeable effect on the child involved. Emotional State of the child for many children, the news that their parents are splitting up comes as a complete surprise. Many parents fail to explain to their children what is happening either because they are too upset or the less said the better. However, when they do find out, the outcomes will differ with age and sex of the child. There are six major issues that must be addressed in order for children to work through the distress of the divorce of their parents. First, the children must understand and believe that their parents want to dissolve their marriage. Second, the children must remove themselves from their parent’s discord. Third, children must deal with their feels of loss. Fourth, children must deal with all their feelings involved in the divorce, including blame. Fifth, children need to understand that the divorce is final. The impacts that divorce cause can be evaluated by several criteria, and the most obvious among them is negative effects on mental and physical health. The best proposed solution for helping children better adjust to the divorce of their parents is the child impact program. This program teaches the Parents how to help their children to cope with divorce and how to understand that the entire family will have to learn to adapt to new schedules, new environments, and new ways of communicating. That way, the will begin to relieve some of stress for their children. Also these programs provide the right solution to keep communication between the parents after divorce because children react differently during each stage in their development because they understand their world differently.
As children enter each new stage, they may want to talk about and understand their family situation all over again. Parents sometimes find this upsetting, but it is important to talk about it again with the child because she has to figure out what it means using the new skills and viewpoints developed as part of the new stage. And they should keep in mind that they do not have to try to figure out how to help their child all by themselves. Some parents may not be able to follow some of these suggestions if they are not going to be spending regular time with their child. If the other parent is not supportive of them as they try to maintain a relationship with the child, it is going to be harder to help the child. If they are not in a position where they can help directly, it may still be useful to understand what the child is experiencing and what the other parent may be dealing with. They may be able to work toward a more supportive co-parenting relationship, and may be able to help their child cope with the situation later.
“Work cited” Dykeman, Bruce F. “The Effects of Family Conflict Resolution on Children’s Classroom Behavior.” Journal of Instructional Psychology” 30.1 Mar 2003: 41.