The Impact of Divorce on Children

This research paper will use professional journal articles and books to talk about the impact of divorce on children. These references will discuss and explain many topics of divorce including: the statistics of divorce, how children are impacted, what can be done to reduce the impact, and talk about if divorce causes children to become troubled adults. It will also talk about the underlying issues that occur when children’s parents divorce. This research paper will talk about the process and phases of divorce, as well as short term and long-term effects of impact of divorce on children.

Another topic that will be discussed will be the behavior of children whose parents are getting divorced. It will also what can be done to help the children cope with divorce. Among other statistics that will be discussed another topic will be trends in divorce. This research paper will talk about past, as well as present statistics in divorce. THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN 1 The Impact of Divorce On Children In America today more and more marriages are ending in divorce. The ones affected most by divorce are not the divorcees themselves. The ones affected most by divorce are the children of the divorcing parents.

This research paper will focus and explore the effects of divorce on children. It will examine short-term as well as long-term effects of divorce on children as well as several other things that the children go through when their parents get a divorce as well as the phases of divorce that affect the children. Divorce is not a cut and dry process you can go to court and handle in one day like you would for a speeding ticket. Divorce is a process that takes time and it usually begins when the feelings in the marriage become negative and then the relationship becomes problematic causing the want for a divorce.

Divorce can happen in six phases each one with a set of obstacles to overcome. Children watch and experience these phases just as the adults do. These phases can affect the children just as much as the parents even though they do not take part in all of the phases. The first phase is the emotional phase that happens when the feelings that the husband and wife had for each other before they were married and right when they tied the knot dissipate and the relationship becomes unmanageable. Negative emotions replace the positive emotions and arguments occur causing the quality of the marriage to worsen.

This is when it becomes problematic and a lot of the arguing happens. Children are likely to see some or all the arguing which can upset them. These events can go on for many years before one of the spouses decides to get a divorce. When either the husband or wife or both decide it is time to call it quits, that’s when the next phase occurs. (Matthews) THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN 2 The next phase in the divorce is the legal phase. This is where all the court proceedings happen. Each spouse retains a lawyer and they go through the process of filing all the correct paperwork in order to get a divorce.

In order for the divorce to go through, there has to be an adequate reason for the divorce. There are many adequate reasons for divorce where either one or both spouses are at fault. Usually when the divorce is wanted mutually spouses and neither spouse is at fault; the legitimate reason for the divorce can be for incompatibility. After the couple completes everything necessary to file for divorce, both parties sign the paper that dissolves their marriage. The children do not take place in the court proceedings in this phase having to do with the dissolution of the marriage.

The next phase is the economic phase. This is where all the assets that the parents had when they were married get divided in half. This is probably the most stressful of the phases and the most likely of the phases for tempers to flare. Sometimes the divorcees cannot come to agreement on how certain aspects of the property or money should be divided. (Matthews) When this happens the divorced couple will need to have the court decide how the property should be divided. (Matthews) If this does take place it could slow down the final phases of divorce.

The divorcees would have to stay in the same house until they can come to an agreement. The children would also live in the same house with the divorcing parents for some time. This would be an unstable environment for the children to live in. The fourth phase is the co-parental divorce. This is where the parents split up their parental duties and the children will either go with either the mother or the father or the responsibility of parenting will be split equally between the parents which means the children get to see their parents for equal amounts of time.

When one parent has custody and the other parent THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN 3 has a certain set amount of time out of the week with the children, the parent with the visit time pays child support to that parent who has custody. (Matthews) This can be the most upsetting of the phases for the children to go through because they are going to get to see less of one parent in most cases. It also sometimes makes the child feel that he is choosing one parent over the other. Technology can take away some of the stress involved with this phase by allowing regular involvement with each parent regardless of which one has custody.

Things such as email, text messaging, Skype, and interactive online games allows the child to interact with the parent who does not see the child everyday. (Reynolds, 2009) The second to last phase is the community phase. This is where the social aspect of the parent and children’s lives change. The children may move with the parent to a new neighborhood where the child has to go and make new friends at a new school. This is would be a whole new community that a child has to get used to unless the parent stays in the same area.

The parent would also have to find their way around and make new friends as well. Friends the parent made while they were married were most likely couples and now that the parent is single the parent would no longer fit in with the same group of friends. (Matthews) A parent can help the child with this phase by making the new home the child will be living in as comfortable as possible. Having the child’s favorite snacks and having the child’s favorite activities on hand will help the child adjust to his new surroundings. (Reynolds, 2009)

The last phase is the psychic phase. This is the phase where the parent adjusts to getting a new identity as a single parent and fine-tunes their new living arrangement alone without a spouse and the emotions that come with it. (Matthews) One factor that can change dramatically in this phase is the discipline for the child. Discipline was normally handled by both parents and THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN 4 now it is handled by one giving the opportunity for the child to think that the parent has less control now that he or she is divorced.

The parent should try to keep the same boundaries in place before the divorce. (Reynolds, 2009) Divorce has both long-term and short- term effects on children varying from child to child. Short-term effects of divorce on children would be less parental supervision, aggression, anger, sadness, and impulsivity. Evidence shows that the child will have fewer behavior problems if the child lives with the parent of the same sex. (Matthews) Some long-term effects would be anxiety and depression in young adulthood, poor psychological well being, and low-life satisfaction. (Matthews)

A big change a child might have to experience is having a stepfamily. In America today, 25 percent of children will spend some time with or in a stepfamily. It can be very stressful for a child because the child just went through his or her parents getting a divorce and now they have to adjust to another big change which is gaining stepfamily. Children might feel alone and neglected when the parent is preoccupied with his or her new spouse. (Masci, 2001) The most surprising statistic in divorce is that 2 out of every 5 children will have parents who are divorced before they are adults.

There is also 1 million children that experience divorce every year in America. Another statistic in divorce is that there is 1. 25 million divorces that happen in the United States every year as well. The current marriage lasts about 7. 2 years. (Matthews) Studies show that after a child’s parents separate there is a chance they could end up in poverty. When the parents do get divorced 9 times out of 10 the child lives with the mother. The mother has an increased chance of living in poverty due to the loss.

There are gender differences with how divorce impacts children. Boys of single mothers are more likely to have behavior problems. Young boys are less independent and need supervision from their parent. Older boys of single mothers tend to resist authority and they do not respond to discipline. Compared to girls boys have a harder time achieving academically and have a harder time with socializing in school. Girls have an easier time adjusting and some times are just as adjusted as girls who have an intact family.

A study shows that if a mother has only one son, than she will be more hesitant to divorce. (Teyber, 2001) There are ways parents and other individuals can help children cope with the divorce of their parents. Parents should not deny any of their children’s emotions such as anxiety, fear or sadness. The parents should directly acknowledge these feelings and talk with the child about them. The parent can also seek help from a professional if the child is experiencing deeper emotions that cause the child to be depressed.

The parent can also always let the child know that he or she loves them and that they will always be there for them. Children can also better cope with divorce when the child has positive adult role models to look up to. (Matthews) Divorce does not always cause children to be troubled adults but sometimes it can have an effect on them when they do become adults. Children of divorce are more likely to have problems when they get married which will most likely lead to divorce just like their parents.

The adult of divorced parents might fear intimacy and commitment, as well as having trouble trusting a spouse when they are married. THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN 6 Divorce in America today is more common than ever and it will always have an impact on children. Parents should always be honest with the child about the divorce and help the child understand what is going on. The divorce is just as painful for the children as it the parents and it takes time to adjust to the lifestyle change that comes with divorce.

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