--Original published at MentzersBlog
- Divorce intensifies the child’s dependence and accelerates the adolescent’s independence.
In the article “The Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents”, Carl E. Pickhardt discusses the effects that divorce has on children. He states, “Basically, divorce tends to intensify the child’s dependence and it tends to accelerate the adolescent’s independence; it often elicits a more regressive response in the child and a more aggressive response in the adolescent. Consider why this variation may be so”. The article discusses that in a child’s world, they are very dependent, especially on their parents. However, when in an adolescent’s world, they become less dependent on their parents and slowly become more dependent on friends. A child may struggle to comprehend the fact that the parents will not be together again someday. They fantasize the ruination of their parents. When the parents of the dependent child become divorced, this causes worry to the child. The child falls uncertain to the future, thinking that if their parents don’t love each other, then they may lose love for him as well. Some side affects of divorce can lead to separation anxiety, crying at bedtime, bedwetting, clinging, and whining/tantrums.
- Children in intact families have lower rates of delinquency than children in non-intact families.
In the article, “Effects of Divorce on Children’s Behavior”, Robert Sampson reports “after studying 171 cities in the United States with populations over 100,000, that the divorce rate predicted the robbery rate of any given area, regardless of its economic and racial composition. In these communities, he found that lower divorce rates indicated higher formal and informal social controls (such as the supervision of children) and lower crime rates”. This essentially means that when the parents of the children aren’t divorced, they have more supervision, therefore the children are less likely to commit crimes. In Wisconsin children who had divorced parents were twelve times higher to be incarcerated as juvenile than kids with married couples. In addition, a crucial study found that boys who go through family transitions at the ages of 14 or 15 are more likely to be delinquents when they hit the ages 16 and 17.Theft rates are significantly lower from intact families than single divorced families. Divorce contributes to externalizing behaviors, which includes weapon carrying, fighting, binge drinking, and substance abuse.
- Divorce is not always bad.
In the article “Is Divorce Bad for Children”, Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld discuss how divorce is not always a negative thing. The article reads, “Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer”. Researchers assessed the child’s academic achievement,behavior and emotional problems, delinquency, social relationship and self-concept. Studies found only very small differences on all these measures between the children with divorced parents and those with married families. This suggests that the vast majority of children endure divorce quite well.
- Divorce has very little impact.
In the article, “Study: Divorce may not cause kids’ bad behavior”, social demographer Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looked at children before and after parents divorced and compared them with children with married parents. He found that some of the problems children showed after the divorce were apparent before the split. Others, including Robert Emery of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, agree that much past research has been overly simplistic in assuming divorce causes the behavior problems. But he adds that he believes Li’s conclusions “are too strong.” He found that an unhappy marriage without a lot of conflict is better for children than divorce. Allen Li who researched divorced vs. non-divorced parents had this to say this “It really depends on the individual marriages and the family,” and states “My conclusion is that divorce is neither bad nor good.”
Overall there are many sides to each opinion by research and surveys. Allen Li put it into perfect words to which I agree with, stating that it all depends on the marriage and family involved which will create different outcomes on the child. In the end, I do not thing divorce has a significant effect on the child.