--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog
For my fist spotlight post, I decided to choose the prompt about the effects divorce has on children. The divorce rate in the U.S. continues to increase, and it has become an ongoing debate about whether divorce harms or helps children. I found four articles that do a good job at helping better understand the effects of each side of the argument.
The first article I read is called, “When, and Why, Divorce Hurts Kids,” by Harry Benson. It provided reasons why divorce can negatively impact children. Finances are a huge factor in divorce negatively affecting children. Typically, the total income between the parents is not enough to cover all of the expenses of two separate households as well as providing for sometimes multiple children. When parents go from living comfortably to struggling financially, the instability can be hard on the kids. Also, divorce usually leaves the kids asking many questions or coming to different conclusions. They constantly ask themselves if it was their fault their parents’ marriage failed or why they didn’t try harder to make it work. The children can develop many insecurities from these thoughts. Divorce can also put a negative connotation on relationships for them. They begin to expect relationships and marriages to not work out and that it’s normal. And lastly, a lot of the times parents think it is most beneficial for the wellbeing of their children to not only coparent, but to remain friends after the divorce. But in reality, that can just become confusing for the children if they see their parents getting along just fine, but they still can’t be together. I found this source to be trustworthy because the author, Harry Benson, is the Communications Director of the Marriage Foundation located in the United Kingdom. The site his article was published on is called Institute for Family Studies, whose goal is to do research in order to educate families and strengthen marriages, and in turn prevent children from being scarred by growing up in broken families.
Another article I found discussing how damaging divorce can be for children is called, “How Divorce Affects Children”, written by Robert E. Emery, Ph.D. One obvious and common reason why divorce is harmful for children is that it can result in the loss of a parent. Far too often do fathers leave the mother and children to fend for themselves and the children don’t see their dad for years, if ever again. Co-parenting isn’t always an assumed method of easing the children into their transition to a much different life. Going along with this, parents tend to run into many conflicts following a divorce. This includes not getting along, financial conflicts, custody, and other legal conflicts. Divorces aren’t always pretty, and that can prolong the transition, making it harder and emotionally draining for the children to deal with. Behavioral and psychological issues tend to increase for children following their parents’ divorce. They develop an inclination to act out, anger problems, become less compliant, develop anxiety, depression, and their performance at school can take a turn for the worst. Also, in some cases, one of the parents becomes depressed themselves after the split, and the children feel compelled to take care of their parent instead of it being the other way around, which can be exhausting for the kids and strip them of their childhood. I found this article to be reliable because Dr. Emery is a clinical psychologist, a divorce mediator, and a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia. He has written over 150 scientific publications and several books about parent, marriage, and divorce, has conducted tons of research on these topics, and has lectured all over the world.
But sometimes divorce serves as the light at the tunnel for the children. The next article I found, titled “Is Divorce Always Bad for the Kids?,” written by Salynn Boyles, discusses how divorce can be beneficial to the children. Living in a dysfunctional family where there is constant fighting, arguing, and tension between two unhappy parents can be very stressful and cause high levels of anxiety for the children. The removal of a parent can be a relief. The article says that children living in a stressful environment between two unhappy parents are more likely to act out and become bullies, lie, cheat, and become antisocial, but that, “there was a significant decline in these behaviors following divorce.” This means that in some cases divorce isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Rather than being harmful for the children they are able to come out better prior to the event and actually can show positive behavioral changes. I found this article to be credible because it was on WebMD. Their staff is made up of certified health professionals, experts, editorial professionals, and contributors with a specialty license to guarantee that people can find the health and medical information, resources and services they need. It is a proven credible source because not only do they seek out and hire highly qualified professionals to provide accurate information for users, but they also maintain upkeep on their staff’s licensures to ensure all of the information on their site is without a doubt up-to-date and accurate.
The last article I read was called “Why Divorce is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids,” written by Brette Sember, which discusses the negative impacts divorce has on children. There are many lessons to be learned for the children that can possibly benefit their lives in the future. For example, while they will have to transition to the change of having two homes, each home will be argument free. This will help the children develop some individuality and their happiness won’t have to depend on their parents’ happiness and “allows kids to just be kids.” Kids can also learn from watching their parents going through a divorce how important it is to be able to compromise. By observing their parents co-parenting and working through their issues, it can show them how working together to get through tough times is much more effective than fighting. And lastly, the children can be shown how important it is to put their happiness first. Living to please others and putting others before themselves can prove to be very harmful, so watching their parents choose their happiness first for once will be very beneficial. This post was written on Huffington Post which I feel is a reliable source because it provides non biased information by obtaining news stories and facts from a variety of sources all of which are checked for their credibility to ensure that they are remaining credible as well.
After reading each article, while I think there are some benefits in certain situations, I have come to the conclusion that divorce mainly damages children developmentally, behaviorally, and psychologically. Additionally, it can really negatively effect their views on marriage and lower their expectations of their own relationships one day.