The impact of divorce on children Angela Smith PSYC 210 James Varland Liberty University The impact of divorce on children The days of complete families that include mom, dad, the household pet, and several children hardly exist. These families have now been replaced with an increasing number of single parent households due to the increasing divorce rate since the 1970’s. (Price & McKenry, 1988) What kind of impact does divorce play on children under the age of 18 years old today. As we journey into this research, we will see many things that effect children not only emotionally, but spiritually, physically, and mentally.
Each of these problems can carry over to adulthood. What we may not realize is that divorce could affect everything up into adulthood of a child. Emotional scars could be left for life. The children are the ones that are left to suffer the most due to divorce. There is so much research on this topic. That alone shows that children are suffering in so many ways due to divorced parents. Divorce is a very stressful experience for any child, regardless of their age.
Over half of American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage.Among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, did you know that one in ten children will also go through three or more parental marriages? (The Abolition of Marriage, Gallagher) The death of a parent is less devastating on a child than a divorce. There are several areas and stages of pain that is dealt with within a child at the beginning of a divorce. They feel very vulnerable, they feel powerless over the situation, and they have feelings of anger and of course several feeling of guilt. Parents’ sensitivity to their child’s needs has to be a priority in the adjustment of the divorce.Then you need to consider the child’s age also. A preschooler’s reaction and an adolescent’s reaction will be very different from each other.
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Preschooler’s tend to be emotionally needy. They have fears related to abandonment, and may display acting-out behaviors. They are likely to become distressed during visit exchanges. (http://cpancf. com/articles_files/efffectsdivorceonchildren. asp) Children from ages 6 to 8 will likely fantasize about their parents but yet are less likely to blame themselves for the divorce.Then children ages 9 to 12 will have a better understanding of their parents divorce and the situation but yet may take the sides with one of the parents.
Although adolescents understand and comprehend the divorce of their parents, they are faced with the divorce experience and also their own identities. Adolescents seem to mature more quickly after a divorce. They will take on more responsibilities at home; they learn to appreciate things like an allowance a lot more, and they also learn to gain insight into relationships with others.But on the other hand, they could be drawn into taking on the role of the parent and not be able to develop relationships with their own peers. According to research, there are many different approaches that you could take when talking to your children about the divorce. There are definitely ways of saying things at their level and ways to try and make it easier on that individual child. One thing that you have to remember is that there is no best age for a child for divorcing parents.
One main thing that you have got to be sure and tell your child is that it isn’t their fault.Children seem to think, especially the younger ones that if I act better or get better grades in school, maybe mommy and daddy won’t be mad at me and leave me. Letting that child know that it isn’t their fault is very crucial for the child. It is very important to let that child know that both parents will still be a part of their lives. When talking to your child about the divorce, you need to keep your emotions under control. If the child sees that you are upset, that will also make them upset and the whole situation can be more complicated. Never, never speak negatively about your spouse in front of the child.
Your child will need to know a reason but not all of the details. Negativity can cause your child to resent your spouse or you. Children are use to a routine. They will need to know what all will be changing in their life. The children need security. Put your differences aside and get along for the child’s sake. Always listen to your child or children and encourage your child or children to express their feelings.
Children have problems finding words to express how they feel. Take the time to help your child understand what they are feeling. And allow the child to be honest.Reassure them that no matter what they have to say or how they are feeling, that neither of these are wrong. That it is okay for them to express themselves. While knowing what to say to a child when talking about divorce there are also things that should not be said when talking to them. Never try to buy your child’s love.
Buying the child stuff will only make them feel good temporarily. That feeling will wear off. A child would rather have their parent’s undivided attention in opportunities and joys in life. Nothing can take the place of the love of a parent.The most important thing that I think that a couple should think of first is not to give up on your marriage. There are many alternatives to giving up and letting it end in divorce. (http://www.
marriage-success-secrets. com/talking-to-your-child-about-divorce. html ) Statistics are done for very valuable purposes. As I bring some of these statistics to light for you, I think that you will be rather amazed. Children of divorce are at a greater risk to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than children whose parents have remained married.Children living with both biological parents are 20 to 35 percent more physically healthy than children from broken homes. (Journal of Marriage and Family) Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times likely to need psychological help within a year.
A study of children six years after a parental breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) These statistics are surely frightful. And people and politics wonder why our American culture is so messed up.Families today doesn’t seem to believe in morals and they especially do not see the importance of what marriage is all about. God gave us a mate to be with forever. The instructions that God has given us in the Bible are very clear about marriage and divorce. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-14 says, “I command the married-not I, but the Lord- a wife is not to leave her husband.
But if she does leave she must remain unmarried or reconciled to her husband- and a husband is not to leave this wife. But I (not the Lord) say to the rest: if any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her.Also if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband. For the unbelieving husband is set apart for God by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband. Otherwise, your children will be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God. (Christian Standard Bible) Another passage that Jesus talks about in the Bible about marriage and divorce and makes Himself very clear about it is in Matthew 19:5 & 9,”(5)For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 9) And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.
” (Christian Standard Bible) This passage sums it all up on divorce. If you are considering divorce and do live by the Bible, I think that there are several things that you need to see and think about according to God’s standard before you actually divorce. This should be considered only in light of the most basic principles of scripture. Is the motive for the divorce Godly? Has the spouse sought advice of wise counselors? Is the divorce a last resort action to be taken?If humans today still lived by God’s standards, the divorce rate and all the problems that follow divorce would not be the way they were. There are so many people that divorce affects and to be greedy and only think of ones own self is inhuman. Even is you have failed with your marriage, there are ways that you can succeed with your divorce. Divorce and all the complications that come along with it can have a significant impact on the well being and development of both children and adolescents.
The consequences of divorce can and will impact almost all areas of a child’s life.That not only includes the parent and child relationship but also the child’s behavior, emotions, coping skills, and psychological development. No wonder that there is a high demand for mental health professionals and other child specialists. As we have looked at statistics and some ways for the parents to deal with the divorce for the children’s sake, let’s put ourselves in the children’s shoes. What do you think is actually going through their mind? What questions do you think that they are thinking about and wanting to ask?According to the University of Missouri, these are some questions and thoughts that are probably going through a child’s mind during their parents divorce. I need both of you to stay involved in my life. I need letters, phone calls, and lots of questions asked to me.
Please don’t fight and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters that relate to me. When you fight about me, I think that I have done something wrong. Please don’t ask me to send messages back and forth between the two of you. Please remember that I depend on both of you to raise me and to be a part of my life.I need both of you to teach me what is important and to help me when I have problems. Take a minute to imagine just what all goes on in a child’s mind when divorce happens.
It is truly a sad situation. Now let’s turn the tables and take a look at some of the positive effects of divorce and children. Now that sounds crazy, right. That is what I thought also until I read some research done on this particular topic. Being a child of divorced parents and looking back, I can actually see some of the benefits that have been seen in the research.Of course no child wants to see their parents gets divorced but if you think about it no child wants to see their parent’s constantly fighting either. If there is any kind of abuse in the relationship, you could actually be hurting your children more by staying together.
Children who have gone through divorce with their parents could reap the benefits of spending one on one time with each parent. Despite the difficulties of divorce, the one on one time is a great bonding opportunity for parents and children to experience. (http://www. helium. om/items/1355536-what-are-positive-effects-divorce-children) Just think about it for a minute. The quality time that each parent is able to spend with their child or children is actually increased after a divorce.The total focus of the parent on the child is much more valued now.
Children can grow healthy in many types of divorce situations if the three key following conditions are met: first, the basic needs for the children must be met, such as love and physical care, understanding, discipline and safety; second, the children need a sense of belonging or being able to say, his is my family where I am important and a special person; and finally, they also need role models of both sexes in their lives to help them determine their proper male and female roles. (http://www. jesuschristismygod. com/index2b. html) Some female children come out of divorce growing into exceptionally good young women. It seems that girls and women strive on more responsibilities and challenges. They connect with their mothers and have deep ties with them.
Child psychologist agree that keeping the strength of extended family intact is one of the best ways to provide a good structure for children to deal with divorce.In addition, when both parents have the full support of family and friends that were connected to the kids during the marriage that provides resources to turn to when things get difficult as the adults try to figure out how life as a divorced couple should work with kids. (http://www. articlesbase. com/divorce-articles/the-positive-effects-of-divorce-on-children-2745699. html) It is very important that the parents celebrate certain days, such as birthdays, and holidays, together with their children.This can and will show their children that there are values to be taken and at the same time show the role of a true mother and father relationship.
As I sit here and think over all the research and statistics that I have read about and then think about my own situation as a child of divorce, I can identify with several of the characteristics that have been studied. First thing that comes to my mind was how my mom and dad handle the situation of divorce, They would talk bad about the other one in front of me and it seemed as if they were trying to win sides with me when actually all I wanted was both of their love.There was always arguing and fighting in front of me and my brothers which also caused me to grow up with a lot of hostility in me. Everything I did for years was prone to fighting and anger. I remember being took from my house to where my dad would stay for certain weekends and holidays and I all wanted was everyone together, As I look back on it now, I truly wonder if my parents had of made different and better choices due to their divorce and the sake of the children, would anything in my life been any different with my attitude or my outlook on things and especially family.I can remember blaming myself for several of the things that was wrong between my parents and also being a mediator between them. My grades in school did go down and I acted out to get the action I was lacking from having both of my parents there when I needed them.
I guess that one good thing that did come out of my parents’ divorce was that I had a huge sense of survival and determination due to this divorce of my parents. I can also see where girls seem to make a strong tie with their mothers and become very strong women.I truly think that it has helped make me what I am today. I do not believe that I could of survived some of the abuse I have been through with drug addiction and recovery if I had not set my standards of survival at such a young age. There are so many ways that we can be coached and taught about what to do in this situation. It is a very sad case for a couple to have to come to this point in their lives today. Marriage is not seen as it should be.
People take it for granted about having a lifelong mate and companion.We should all go back to the basis of the Bible but with the devil and the secular world taking over today, we as Christians have to stand up and play a huge role in our kids live. I have made a promise to myself that I will not repeat the cycle of my parents. Life is too precious and your children will be grown and gone before you know it. We endure enough pain in this world today and I refuse to allow anymore to be put into my children’s life due to me.This study has just made me a little more determined about living my marriage a a Christian example to my children and working through all the problems that marriage my bring in my direction. The statistics are growing but our God is even bigger.
References Christian Standard Bible http://cpancf. com/articles_files/efffectsdivorceonchildren. asp) http://www. articlesbase. com/divorce-articles/the-positive-effects-of-divorce-on-children-2745699. html http://www. helium.
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