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* Children Of Divorce *

Table of Contents:

Effects of Divorce on Children
Effects of Divorce on Girls
Effects of Divorce on Boys
Immediate Effects of Divorce
Health Issues
Academic Achievement
Relationships Later in Life
Long Term Effects
Positive Effects


As a child of divorce I know the effects first hand. At the age of six my mom and dad decided to call it quits after being married for ten years. Was it the best thing for them to do? Was it the best thing to do for us children? One will never really know if divorce will actually help or corrupt the children. Only time can unveil that answer. I am going to show you statistics and research that will help you come to a conclusion. I am going to show you the good, bad, and the ugly of divorce. Then you can take it from there and come to your own conclusion on divorce and its outcome. My personal view on divorce? Divorce makes children angry and in some cases it makes little girls search for love for the remainder of their adult life.

The Effects on Children of Divorce

So what is divorce? Divorce is the action or an instance of legally dissolving a marriage. (Webster) And why do people divorce? Divorce happens when the two partners involved can not concur. So they call it quits. It is our way of thinking today that if we cannot work it out just get a quickie divorce. I mean what is divorce today anyway? Itís old news. Nobody cares if you have been married five times and working on your sixth. Itís an epidemic. My main focus is on the children. Divorce statistics show that one out of two marriages' ends in divorce, (AACAP) (See Figure 2) and sixty-seven percent of all second marriages end in divorce. (Corcoran) That is 50% of our population that is ending the sacred vows that they promised to keep, "Till death do us part."(Shopkorn) The sad part is between 1970 and 1996, the proportion of children under 18 years of age living with one parent grew from 12 percent to 28 percent. (ADR) Now that we have just a few statistic's lets get to the good stuff. (See Figure 1)
Letís talk about the effects on children that come from a broken home. This is a significant topic for me to discuss hence I have a lot of anger left in my now healing heart. "Among teenage and adult populations of females, parental divorce has been associated with lower self-esteem, precocious sexual activity, greater delinquent-like behavior, and more difficulty establishing gratifying, lasting adult heterosexual relationships."(Kalter) As children we need love and self-assurance from both a father and a mother.
It is imperative for a daughter to be involved with her father for numerous reasons. "The continuous sense of being valued and loved as a female seems an especially key element in the development of the conviction that one is indeed femininely lovable," states Kalter. But with dad missing in action, young women turn that pain inward and feel they are not pretty enough, athletic enough, or smart enough to love. (Kalter) They feel like they have done something to push dad away. Studies have shown that young girls experience the following after a divorce: ®Intensified separation anxiety ®Denial and avoidance of feelings associated with loss of father ®Identification with the lost object ®Object hunger for males (Lohr) Furthermore, girls need a father in their life who is attentive, caring, and loving to show them that they are special and irreplaceable. Almost like a security blanket. Without this refuge, girls go astray. They become emotionally dependent on others for the lack of love and masculine example that our fathers should have been providing.
What about the effects on boys growing up without a father you ask? Even worse. Statistics show that boys in divorced families are at higher risk for depression than those in intact families, even if the post-divorce situation is ideal.(Peterson) Boys need an example to go by. They learn from dad. "Children of divorce, especially boys, evidenced higher frequencies of dependency, irrelevant talk, withdrawal, blaming, and inattention as well as decreased work effort and higher frequencies of inappropriate behavior, unhappiness, and maladaptive symptoms." (Rodriguez)
Some of the most noticeable effects of divorce are immediate. The fact that one parent is now doing all of the work is a tough burden to carry. Statistics show that the custodial parent becomes distressed, overburdened, and less supportive. (Arnold) The one parent, (usually the mother) becomes more inconsistent in the disciplining and household routines. This leads to irregular meals and bed times.
Children of divorce also suffer health effects as well. Reports have shown poorer emotional adjustment thus resulting in anxiety. These children living with mom, after the divorce, have a 50% greater risk of having asthma, frequent headaches, and speech defects.(Dawson) The increase risk of accidents, injuries, and poisonings elevated scores for health disadvantage in comparison to children in intact dwellings. The predicted risk of injury was about 20%-30% greater. (Remez)
Academic Achievement is also a challenge for children of divorce. They show early signs of disengagement from school; truancy rate increases. Overall they have a negative attitude towards class and teachers in general. Less monitoring of schoolwork and social activities by the one parent, (as compared to a intact family) resulted in lower educational expectations for themselves as well as non existent social activities.
Now what about relationships later on in life with children that came from a broken home? Do they suffer? Is there any difference? Yes. There is a big difference. Adult children of divorce are less optimistic about their own future success with marriage. They also report less trust of their future spouse. (Franklin) Children of divorce in unhappy marriages were more likely to have straining patterns of communication with their spouse. Children of divorce were also more likely to think their marriage was in trouble.
The long term effects of divorce on children are permanent. Children experience high levels of problem behavior, increase likelihood of dropping out of school, and psychological trauma. The younger the child, the greater the probability of long term effects. (Before age 6) Children at this age show more long term risks of emotional and social development than does children that come from a broken home at a older age. (Orbuch)
On the flip side of the coin there is also a positive route that can occur after divorce. Not all children turn into bitter adults. If a mom and dad both agree to spend time with the child, that child has a better chance at becoming a normal functioning grown-up later in life. In fact, if the parents both decide to re-marry, the child not only has two functioning parents but four. That can actually work out as an advantage for some kids, "I think that as long as the same values are practiced by both parents there is no reason why a child can't grow up the same as a child in a intact family. I also think that when and if the parents take on new partners, it gives the child the opportunity to be loved and cared for by even more people." (Kieffer)
My theories on divorce are simple. Divorce is a misfortune to children no matter what the circumstance. In order to conquer this epidemic America needs to rethink the meaning of marriage. Isn't marriage supposed to be sacred and forever? When two people divorce they are not only hurting themselves but they are drastically hurting the children involved. The effects of divorce will follow that person forever. I can speak out of experience and say that not having a father figure in my life has really made it hard on me to cope as a child and as an adult. When I was younger I could never be alone. Always searching for the one person to fill my fatherís place. The only way people are going to cure this epidemic is by not getting married until they are absolutely sure they want to spend the rest of their life with that one person. Believe me when I say the effects of divorce leave scars forever, and children should not have to suffer through the loss of a parent. In my eyes losing my dad was like suffering through a death. (See Figure 3)

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Links to Resources on the Web

The Effects of Divorce on Children
The Effects Of Parental Divorce On Adult Children's Romantic Relationshi
Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce
DA*DI: On Behalf of Family and Fatherhood
GH6600 Focus on Kids: The Effects of Divorce on Children
Kids of divorce, now adults, say it still hurts
Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children
BG1373 (06/05/00): The Effects of Divorce on America - Heritage Foundati
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