Essay: Outcomes of Divorce on Children

Family remains an integral segment of the society and there are no doubts that in its hierarchy children play an essential role as future generation and hope. However, family breakups and consequent divorces have severe impact on children, making them extremely vulnerable to such drastic life changes. Thorough research of books and numerous articles in research journals has proved the fact that children do suffer from the divorce.

Children from the divorced families are exposed, unprotected and powerless to alter the actual state of things. They do not understand what has actually happened and “why?”. At the same time, children experience stress, lose support while parents think life circumstances won’t influence a child at all. The actual supporters of children (parents) forget that formation of a child’s personality requires constant parental attention, care and above all – intact family.

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Thus, over 10% of children in divorced families were practically brought up by the family relatives. Children eventually lose contact with one or both parents, which in time creates barriers in communication (unwillingness to communicate with others, secluded lifestyle) and abnormal behavior difficulties (delinquency or sometimes unexpected aggression) etc. The environment of conflict in the family has a long-term and harmful effect on child’s personality. According to the available statistics, 75 per cent of children from divorced families will not have any significant problems and this is still an optimistic forecast. However, nearly 25 per cent of children will have serious problems caused by divorce and family breakdown. Nowadays, children are at extreme risk of having social, cognitive, emotional difficulties irrespective of their age. Though, almost 66% per cent of all divorces influence young children (children at the age of 6 or 5). I guess, it’s extremely important to pay attention to emotional impact of divorce. Children in divorced families have fears: fear to be alone, fear to lose parents. They fear divorce as an actual threat to their lives and fear that parents can betray them. Such emotional stress leads to uncertainty in any further relations, mood swings, changes in physical and mental health (like bedwetting or distress), depression and apathy, feeling of anger or aggression, antisocial behavior. Negative processes in divorced families and bad psychological adjustment to life changes are the reasons for children to feel unhappy or worry over miscellaneous things. One of the brightest examples of divorce impacts on children could be poor scores and grades. The absence of help, emotional instability and indifference create problems in school. Under immense stress, a child can not concentrate his attention on studies and stressful separation of parents, bringing unexpected results, leads to spending less time for school preparation. Thus, adolescents and adults leave school or sometimes even home, drink, smoke and even use drugs.

But divorce can bring positive outcomes as well. Positive impacts of divorce include: independence and increased maturity of children, unyielding determination to create stability in family and harmony in any relations, growing responsibility for his/her actions, a much better appreciation of the received help.

It’s necessary to underline that divorce is a significant life challenge and to cope with it children do need help and support of society. Relatives, parents and even friends can give a helping hand to a child, saving millions of lives.

References:
1. Hetherington, E. M., & Stanley-Hagan, M. (1999). The adjustment of children with divorced parents: A risk and resiliency perspective. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40(1), 129-140.
2. Amato, Paul R., & Keith, Bruce. (1991). Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A metaanalysis. Psychological Bulletin, 110(1), 26-46.
3. Hetherington, E. Mavis; Bridges, Margaret; & Insabella, Glendessa M. (1998). What matters? What does not? Five perspectives on the association between marital transitions and children’s adjustment. American Psychologist, 53(2), 167-184.
4. Jeynes, William H. (1998). Does divorce or remarriage have the greater negative impact on the academic achievement of children? Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 29(1-2), 79-100.
5. Simons, Ronald L. (1996). Understanding differences between divorced and intact families: Stress, interaction, and child outcome. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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