Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents
IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON YOUNG CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS 8
Impactof Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents
Impactof Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents
Divorcehas become a common phenomenon in the American society with themajority of victims citing various reasons such as abusive marriages,infidelity, and financial constraints (Rappaport, 2013). Often, it isconsidered a risk to all the affected parties such as the kids andthe parents themselves. Many individuals compare divorce to a highstake gamble that no one will know the exact outcome (Brown& Lin, 2014).The benefits that individuals get when they are married is far fromcertain because pecuniary rewards that include love, asset values,and future income are vulnerable to random shocks (Brown& Lin, 2014).The American culture through talk shows, religious organizations, andnews media has convinced the society that marriage termination haslong-term and short-term effects on the kids (Rappaport, 2013).However, over time, scientific studies concerning the consequences ofdivorce on children have presented conflicting results. Recentresearch indicates that divorce itself does not cause post-divorceemotional difficulties, but five other factors that are parallel withseparation (Rappaport, 2013). However, it is important to note thatnot all separations are conducted with little or no effect on thechildren. The end to an abusive marriage that is characterized bydomestic violence brings significant physiological benefits to thekids and the affected parents (Taylor et al., 2015). One cannot argueon the impact of marriage annulment on the kids because this dependson the kind of marriage the parents had thus, this topic is purelycontextual in relation to each case of divorce.
Causesof Issues Children with Divorced Parents Undergo
Stigmatizationis one of the challenges that children face when parents divorce.Currently, break ups are more socially acknowledged hence, childrenmight feel less disgraced. However, this relies heavily on the IQ ofthe child in which children with a lower IQ are likely to be moreaffected by a divorce in contrast with the ones with a high IQ (Brown& Lin, 2014).Stress is also a major problem that affects children in the event ofa divorce. The fact that children will have to live without one oftheir parents can take a lengthy time to sink into the minds of thesekids. Moreover, when children witness parental conflict, itincreases the chances of these kids having post- divorce adjustmentissue. Getting used to the changes that occur after a divorce hasalso been cited to be challenging to these children (Taylor et al.,2015).
Reliablestatistics from the American Community Survey indicated that therehad been a notable increase in the rates of divorce in the UnitedStates of America (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014). These statisticsalso reveal a worrying trend in which the rate doubled amongstpersons over 35 years. Kennedy and Ruggles (2014) explain that thereis a 20% separation increase among 1000 married women in America.Sociologists suggest that this points out to a fundamental change incultural values as well as behavior (Taylor et al., 2015). Going bythe latest survey on this topic, 29 % of women married for the firsttime ended up in a divorce just within ten years of theirrelationship. Additionally, according to the forecast by the NationalSurvey of Family Growth,there is a 43% probability that first marriages amongst women agedbetween 15 and 44 will end up in separation in just 15 years (Kennedy& Ruggles, 2014). The survey organization also indicates thatgenerally, the lifelong chances of a couple ending up in separationstands at 40% to 50%. In the state of California, the rate ofdivorce is 60 % tallying up as one of the highest in the countrybecause the national rate is at 50% (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014). Given this worrying statistics, it can be argued that separation is amajor social issue in the United States of America.
SociologicalIssues Faced By Children of Divorced Parents
Financialproblems can be pinpointed as the major sociological problems thatthese children encounter (Brown& Lin, 2014).When a divorce occurs, parents create two households forcefully whilethere is no change in income. This translates to two rental paymentsor mortgages, a couple sets of water bills, cable, gas, andelectricity. Several families find it difficult to survive on twoincomes. This increased financial constraint in addition to legalbills contributes to parental stress (Brown& Lin, 2014). According to one study, about 55% of divorced women that havechildren less than six years live below the poverty line (Brown& Lin, 2014).Consequently, such parents are forced to work more and forget tooffer parental care because they take their children to daycareinstitutions. For teenage children, the situation is likely to beworse because they may engage in unlawful activities such as crimeand substance abuse (Rappaport, 2013).
Themajor health difficulties that affect children of divorced parentsare mental related. Divorce introduces a lot of changes into the lifeof children no matter how old they are. It introduces psychologicalinstability to the affected children. Even when compared to adultsfrom intact families, these children have more behavioral andemotional problems, less psychological well- being and negativefeelings (Weaver & Schofield, 2015). When parents separate,children encounter various emotional reactions such as loneliness,sadness, anger, heightened anxiety, depression lower self-confidenceand self- esteem amongst many others (Rappaport, 2013). Teenagersreact to this issue in many ways such as frequently withdrawing fromhome and seeking love somewhere else. Depression and anxiety arecommon for boys and girls regardless of the age (Weaver &Schofield, 2015). Girls find parental separation less emotionallydisturbing than boys (Weaver & Schofield, 2015). Therefore,mental illness can be pinpointed as the major health issue thataffects children of divorced parents.
Physicianstake an interpretive and supportive role with the concerned childrenand relatives and lobby to the advantage of the kids. Many steps canbe taken to help the young victims. First, families should beprovided with anticipatory guidance concerning the effects ofseparation to the kids because the underlying issues of parentalconflict start long before the divorce (Weaver & Schofield,2015). Second, parents at the verge of a break up should be informedabout community resources accessible for conflict resolution beforethey can head their different ways. Third, parents are encouraged todevelop proper anger management because it is a crucial skill. Thiscan be done by sharing irate feelings with a different supportiveadult instead of a child (Rappaport, 2013). Fourth, children shouldbe allowed to access psychiatric services in case they developdepression due to the separation of parents (Kennedy & Ruggles,2014).
Legalguardianship and child custody policies have been used to help kidsafter a division. They stipulate that it is the right of the child todecide and that it is the parent’s duty to care for the kid. Childcustody gives priority to the interest of the child in that they areat liberty to select the parent they will live with after thedivorce. Also, the other parent is given the right to visit the childin whatever place they might be living and also contribute to thefinancial welfare. Fathers who contact their children after marriagedissolution tend to offer financial support thus, helping inmaintaining the post-divorce psychological wellbeing (Taylor et al.,2015). Moreover, psychiatric services have proven to help kids,mostly older ones cope up will post-divorce adjustments. Childrenolder than 12 years tend to be affected more because they canunderstand exactly what is going on at home (Rappaport, 2013). Therefore, it is important that these children are enrolled to aspecialized therapist who will guide them accordingly through thisprocess.
DivorceCare for Kids
Locatedin California, Divorce Care for Kids is an organization that caresand guides kids who probably feel scared, confused and sad afterparents separate. DC4K helps affected children process thesefeelings and provides for them tools to communicate effectively withthe parents. Also, the DC4K helps kids who are between 5- 12 yearsand provides a neutral and safe place to gain an appropriatecomprehension of divorce and separation. The programs they offer runfor 13 weeks and connects children with a caring group nearest towhere the affected kids come from. The DC4K group utilizes stories,music videos, discussions, and games to help children to understandthe separation and move forward. The center also has a parent wingthat guides them on how they should handle their kids during suchsituations (DC4K, 2014). Besides, children are allowed to come withtheir parents even if they do not attend the following divorce careprogram.
Theelevated rates of divorce in the United States of America require amore comprehensive approach to solve any divorce related issues. TheUnitedStates of America Census Bureaureports that termination of relationships affects approximately 50%of all marriages in the country (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014). Thisimplies that the problem changes many children. In the event of adivorce, kids tend to be stressed up because they might be uncertainabout the future (Rappaport, 2013). In many instances, marriagedissolution does not just happen. Before that, there are a series ofevents that lead to a separation. It is at this point that childrenshould be prepared for the worse. They should be informed thatseparation might occur due to parental conflict. Upon a successfuldivorce, kids who cannot control their emotional feelings should beenrolled in post-divorce centers such as the DC4K were specialistwill help them through this period. Using a child’s pre- divorcebehavior contributes to determining if they exhibit behavior issuesin relative with other kids (Rappaport, 2013). During this time, itis recommended that parents practice positive guardianship such asbeing responsive and sensitive to the children`s needs. The action islikely to shield kids from the negative fallout related to parentalseparation because it improves the kid’s sense of security andstability (Rappaport, 2013). Adolescent children are more fragile toa separation of parents. With a broken marriage, teenagers willprefer to refrain from family related issues and instead strengthenrelationships such as friendship (Taylor et. al, 2015). Normally,these connections might be harmful in that they might be influencedto indulge in drug abuse and crime. Divorced parents with adolescentchildren are advised to stay closer to their children afterseparation than they were when they were married.
Divorcehas become a normative event in the American society. Children oftenfind themselves helpless because what they knew as a family no longerexists. Psychological issues are the main challenges that areinevitable amongst these kids. Parents should put their child’sinterest first by seeking less painful divorce procedures.Organizations such as DC4K are designed to help children go throughpost-divorce issues. With proper guidance, children are less likelyto be affected by divorce related complications.
Brown,S. L., & Lin, I. F. (2012). The gray divorce revolution: Risingdivorce among middle-aged and older adults, 1990–2010. TheJournals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and SocialSciences,67(6),731-741
DivorceCarefor kids (DC4K). (2014, April 1). Water of Life Community Church.Retrieved fromhttp://www.wateroflifecc.org/events/calendar/event/50/divorcecare-for-kids–dc4k-/2014-04-01
Kennedy,S., & Ruggles, S. (2014). Breaking up is hard to count: The riseof divorce in the united states, 1980-2010.Demography, 51(2),587-98. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13524-013-0270-9
Rappaport,S. R. (2013). Deconstructing the impact of divorce on children.Family Law Quarterly, 47(3),353-377. Retrieved fromhttps://search.proquest.com/docview/1490970659?accountid=45049
Taylor, T. P.,Livingston, J., Goldman, V. J., & Eaton, S.(2015). The relationship between perceived parental discord anddifferences in attitudes towards romantic relationships among AfricanAmerican college students. Journal of Black Sexuality andRelationships, 2(1), 59-81. doi:10.1353/bsr.2015.0017
Weaver, J. M.,& Schofield, T. J. (2015). Mediation and moderation ofdivorce effects on children’s behavior problems. Journal ofFamily Psychology, 29(1), 39-48. doi:10.1037/fam0000043
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