--Original published at Marlee's Psych 105 Blog
Over the past decade, divorce has become more and more common in the United States. This means that more and more children are also being affected. In some families divorce is the only option to put the household at ease but what is controversial is the effect that it has on children. This debate is over how divorce can either leave a child with no emotional damage or can be totally destructive to their mental wellbeing.
In todays society, divorce is seen as a relatively normal thing compared to that of ten years ago. Divorce happens very frequently in todays day in age; people change and so do their wants and needs. When we look at divorce the first thing that is brought to our attention is who gets the house, car, beach house, etc., but what we should be taking a deeper look into is how the child is affected. According to Dr. Jane Anderson, “Each child and each family are obviously unique, with different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities and temperaments, and varying degrees of social, emotional, and economic resources, as well as differing family situations prior to divorce. Despite these differences, divorce has been shown to diminish a child’s future competence in all areas of life, including family relationships, education, emotional well-being, and future earning power.” To further explain Anderson’s thoughts, she also gives bulleted breakdowns to each factor that is influenced by divorce. These factors include: child’s loss of time with each parent, child’s loss of economic security, child’s loss of emotional security and lastly, a child with higher levels of emotional stress. All of these factors can result in an emotionally damaged child.
To support this Cornelia Brentano’s, Divorce: Causes and Consequences, states that depending on the age of the child the emotional results of the divorce can vary, but that all ages experience negative effects in some way. Specifically, “reactions vary with age, but across the board, children experience feelings of confusion and betrayal as they watch their family fall apart and feel neglected while their parents struggle with their own problems” (Brentano). Overall, children, no matter their age, will experience negative effects after a divorce.
Although, a large percentage of children who undergo a divorce, experience negative effects, there are some who come out unaffected and unchanged. According to The Washington Post, “Some children are simply more resilient to stress than others. Others manage to find safe niches that insulate them from the trauma of divorce. They may have a special relationship with another adult, or they may be buffered from the conflict by one parent.” This article argues how some children are simple unaffected by divorce. It explains how every chid is different and that they will have different emotional responses to the divorce itself. Reactions to divorce can be dependent on how well the child is able to cope and their temperament. In addition, Kendra Jolivet, tells us how in 2009 a group of teenagers were asked to fill out a survey on the topic of divorce. The response was very positive. Most teens when asked about divorce said that it made them feel more independent and that they felt they were old enough to cope with the divorce itself.
Based on what I read, I think that divorce impacts children in a negative way. This negative impact, leads to multiple emotional hardships later on in life and can damage a child mentally. On the other hand, I do believe that if I child is placed in an environment that is dangerous do to the parents relationship, than a divorce can take place.
|Anderson, J. (2014). The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce. The Linacre Quarterly, 81(4), 378–387.
Clarke-Stewart, Alison. (2006). Divorce: Causes and Concequences. Yale University Press, 2(5), 1-12.
DIVORCE DOESN’T ALWAYS HURT THE KIDS. (1989, March 19). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1989/03/19/divorce-doesnt-always-hurt-the-kids/6432e596-b8d3-45f1-a3f7-0a1029a59240/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c08d55e4d884MLA (Modern Language Assoc.)
Jolivet, Kendra Randall. The Psychological Impact of Divorce on Children: What is a Family Lawyer to Do? 2011. American Journal of Family Law, 25(4) . Date Accessed 7 October 2018.
APA (American Psychological Assoc.)
Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce : Causes and Consequences. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press