March 5, 2011
Affects of Divorce on Children
Divorce can have a devastating impact on a family. Children are particularly vulnerable when their parents are divorced. For many years, experts in the field of child psychology and child development have researched the impact of divorce on children. They have found that children of divorce can have a wide range of problems including behavioral, emotional and adjustment difficulties. For the purposes of this discussion, I will explore the impact of divorce on children.
According to current data, nearly 51% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce (Love and Murdock , ...view middle of the document...
That is, if a parent is prone to behavior that is conducive to putting strains on marital relationships, even to the point of divorce, the children will be more likely to exhibit similar kinds of behavior even when they are adults… Furthermore, research also indicates that parental divorce can affect the academic attainment of the children into young adulthood, as well as the psychological well-being of these children” (Jeynes, 2001).
In any case, there is substantial research that indicates that children do not go unaffected by the divorce of their parents. For some children the divorce may result in feelings of insecurity and behavioral problems while other children are able to adjust and prosper. Regarding children and divorce Berns states that “children experience a deep sense of loss, develop divided loyalties, and often feel helpless against forces beyond their control (Berns, 2010, p.84). Research over the past 3 decades by Hetherington and Kelly (2002) discovered that although children of divorced parents, as a group, have more adjustment problems than do children of never-divorced parents, the divorce is not necessarily the major cause of these problems. According to Berns, “the negative effects of conflict in troubled marriages can be observed in children years before the divorce takes place” (Berns, 2010, p. 84). Ahrons (2007) found similar results following 173 adults 20 years after the divorce occurred.
Lengua et al (2000) investigated the impact of divorce on the ability of children to adjust. The study was conducted with 231 mothers and children ages 9-12 (Lengua et al 2000). All of the children were from families with recent divorces. The study sought to determine if the children would experience adjustment problems because of their parents’ divorce. The study tested such variables as temperament, adjustment and parenting (Lengua et al 2000). The study found that both parenting and temperament directly effected outcomes.
The results of the study indicate that parental rejection was strongly related to the ability of the child to adjust when combined with a low degree of positive emotionality (Lengua et al 2000). Also, the study concluded that inconsistent discipline when combined with impulsivity is also more likely to result in adjustment problems of children. The authors explain that divorce has been linked to a decline in the quality of parenting that a child receives (Lengua et al 2000, p. 232). They also state that divorce can lead to inconsistent discipline, poor communication and inconsistent affection (Lengua et al 2000, p.232).
Other research has suggested that children of divorce tend to have attachment problems. In an article entitled “Attachment to Parents and Psychological well being: An Examination of young Adult College Student in intact Families and Step Families”, Love and Murdock (2004) found that divorce has an impact even on adult children. The researchers explain that people raised...