The Divorce Debate

The topic of divorce is a heavily debated topic in today’s society as the rate of divorce has become much more prevalent over the years. Specifically, one of the most controversial points of the divorce debate it the effect it has on children and their future life choices. Some suggest that children develop internalizing, externalizing, and cognitive functioning problems due to the effects of divorce on the young brain, while others suggest that divorce can actually lead to more positive romantic experiences for children later on. But who is right?

According to Daniel S. Shaw, a doctor and psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and Erin M. Ingoldsby, a senior research associate at James Bell Associates, many research designs have been done to support the idea that divorce negatively affects a child’s ability to internalize problems, externalize problems, and thrive academically. Shaw and Ingoldsby state that according to the National Survey of Children, children who experienced a divorce between their parents were less likely to be able to externalize their problems in a healthy manner, and were more like to misbehave and show aggression. The data they provided behind this was a longitudinal, observational study in which 1,423 children across the nation were observed behavior-wise at the ages of 7-11, 12-16, and 18-22. These children were randomly selected, and were a mixture of having parents happily together, parents already divorced, and parents who got divorced at some point during the study. Although most parents stayed married, the overall evidence for children of divorced parents showed the majority acting out and showing aggression towards teachers, parents, and significant others at all three age ranges (Shaw).

As well, Shaw and Ingoldsby suggest that children who experience parental divorce are likely to internalize their problems in an unhealthy manner. Although Shaw and Ingoldbsy suggest that much less research and support is shown for internalizing problems than externalizing problems, they do state that recently, according to the National Children Survey, there has been an “increase of self-reported distress and depression at ages 12-16 and 18-22 among children from divorced families” (Shaw).

To support this claim, a longitudinal study of child development was done on the participants in the Child Development Project, which consisted of 356 different families that registered to take part in the study while registering their children for kindergarten. For children who both had divorced parents and did not, their behavior was monitored by teachers and parents by filling out a Child Behavior Checklist. The data that was collected shows that not only did children with divorced parents experience much more signs of depression and anxiety than other children, but they also found that the earlier the divorce happened in child, the more likely the child is to unhealthily internalize his or her problems (Lansford).

Lastly, both an observational study explained by Shaw and Ingoldbsy and the study done on the participants of the Child Development Project suggest that children who experience the effects of divorce will be negatively affected in the areas of academics. Shaw and Ingoldbsy state that in an observational study of 699 children from 38 different states, “children from single-parent, divorced families showed deficits in IQ scores, ranging between 1 and 7 points, lower grades in history and math, school achievement scores averaging less than one year in school, and were more likely to repeat a grade” (Shaw). Similarly, an observational study conducted on the participants of the Child Development Project during the observational study of internalizing problems measured the grades in mathematics and language arts of students that experienced divorce in their families, and those that did not. A similar result to the one Shaw and Ingoldbsy suggested was found as students who had divorced parents showed a consistent decease in both mathematics and language arts as they progressed in the school system (Landsford).

On the contrary, some would suggest that divorce has more of a chance to positively affect children than negatively affect children. Although these people do acknowledge the idea that there will be negative effects on children from divorce, they suggest that these effects can be dealt with by early intervention, and will end up positively affecting these children later on in their romantic lives.

For example, in an observational study done by Grant W. Mohi at the University of Central Florida, Mohi found that many people who experienced divorce as a child grew up to maintain relationships for a longer period and be more open and communitive with spouses and children. The study was done by providing 233 different college students, 67 men and 166 women, from both divorced and intact families with a survey regarding their personal relationship trends. 10 face-to-face interviews were also conducted with students from divorced families to further support the data. The most common qualitative data Mohi collected was that students strived to do a better job in their relationships than their parents did; therefore it made them more open and committed to their spouses and families (Mohi).

A similar idea of positive effects on children who experienced parental divorce is supported in a study done by Paul R. Amato in his Journal of Marriage and Family. Sarah-Marie Hopf, who references Amato’s study in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, describes Amato’s meta-analysis of 63 studies relating to divorced parents and their children. Hopf describes that Amato suggests a sense of resilience in children from what he observed (Amato). What is meant here is that children from divorced parents were not only likely to try to improve their own personal relationships due to what they observed from their parents, but 75-80 percent of those children were shown to grow up to achieve their education, career, and relationship goals later on in life (Hopf).

As both sides make compelling arguments about the effects of divorce on children and continually back their support with qualitative and quantitative data from multiple different studies, it is clear to see why the influences of parental divorce on children is such a heavily debated topic in today’s society.

 

References:

Amato, Paul R, and Joan G Gilbreth. “Nonresident Fathers and Children’s Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and Family, National Council on Family Relations, Aug. 1999, www.jstor.org/stable/353560?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

Hopf, Sarah Marie. “Risk and Resilience in Children Coping with Parental Divorce.”DUJS Online, Dartmouth College, 31 Oct. 2013, dujs.dartmouth.edu/2010/05/risk-and-resilience-in-children-coping-with-parental-divorce/#.WduKCmhSzIU.

Lansford, Jennifer E., et al. “Trajectories of Internalizing, Externalizing, and Grades for Children Who Have and Have Not Experienced Their Parents’ Divorce or Separation.” Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 June 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2750031/.

Mohi, Grant W. “Positive Outcomes of Divorce: A Multi-Method Study on the Effects of Parental Divorce on Children.” The University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 7.2, 22 Sept. 2015, urj.ucf.edu/docs/mohi.pdf.

Shaw, Daniel S, and Erin M Ingoldsby. “Chirldren of Divorce.” Children of Divorce, The University of Pittsburgh, www.pitt.edu/ppcl/Publications/chapters/children_of_divorce.htm.


Spotlight Post 1: Divorce and Children

Firstly stating that my parents have divorced when I was around 8 or 9 so I may add some of my thoughts throughout the post. Divorce itself seems to be more and more common in modern day relationships. Whether or not the child is affected by the divorce depends on how the relationship was before the divorce and after the divorce. If the relationship had the parents arguing and fighting more often than not and continues afterwards then the child will be more effected than if the relationship was taken care of civilly. “The consequences of a divorce for children are mostly that they have to move to a different home and sometimes to a different school and that they will not see and be with both their parents at the same time any more.”(Effects).

The first source suggests that children really aren’t affected at all when it comes to divorce. As stated above that the only thing they have to deal with is having to move form one house to another every now and then, but still states that children will react in different ways depending on how old they may be during the divorce. For example for children who are under the age of 9, the “preschoolers”, they feel a sense of that it was their fault for the divorce (Effects). While children 9-13 years of age become more independent and feel as though they need to take care of themselves since their parents can’t (Effects). The child is impacted the most once they enter a serious relationship and has the idea that they are going to fail or the relationship won’t last.

The following source argues that how the child is affected depends on how bad the relationship was before and after the divorce. “Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children” (Lilienfeld). This source also suggests that with more fighting creates more stress and affects how they are parenting the child, pushing them away when the child needs them the most. ” Children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce process or minimize the child’s exposure to it” (Lilienfeld). Lilienfeld lastly states that children can bounce back and get through the divorce with little or no battle scars, if parenting is done right after the divorce.

When it came to my parent’s divorce they didn’t argue in front of me so I wasn’t exposed to it but looking back I would have to agree with the first source when stating that children from 9-13 become more independent. When it all happened and my parent’s moved to separate houses I did feel the need to take care of myself and only truly rely on myself to do things. But then I have also had friends who’s parents divorced and argued before and after the divorce and now I can see the different effects of them compared to me. I do believe that the effects on a child really do depends on how the parents take care of the situation, whether they are mature about it or not. So finally my take on it is that divorce overall can affect the child negatively if the child/children aren’t cared for correctly.

 

Bibliography:

“Effects of Divorce on Children.” Children and Divorce: Information, Tips and Real Life Stories for Divorced Parents., http://www.children-and-divorce.com/effects-of-divorce-on-children.html.

Lilienfeld, Hal Arkowitz Scott O. “Is Divorce Bad for Children?” Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/.


Spotlight 1 Prompt 1

In recent history divorce has become less and less of a taboo in America and many places around the world. With that option being available to couples we have seen divorce rates steadily rise, for the most part, over the last few decades. With the growing popularity of divorce, it’s important to consider how it affects our children. Some people claim that it can have a lasting impact on someone for life, others say it can be overcome.

“Divorce Can Be Overcome” Articles:

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

This article claims that according to studies they found, divorce really has little impact on MOST children. Many grow up to be well adjusted and rarely suffer serious consequences early on in life. One study it looked at found that children may suffer from some side effects like anger, anxiety, and depression, but that they tend to go away within a two year time span. Another study suggested children who are exposed to conflict prior to the divorce often adjust even better when it happens as they are not as surprised, whereas a sudden divorce they couldn’t have seen coming may shock them, and some may even see the divorce as relief because of the conflict they saw. This article seemed trustworthy just because of how they sited studies as evidence for everything they said, every bit of it was backed up with evidence collected by other, probably more professional, researchers.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

Divorce Not Always Bad for Kids

This article looked specifically at studies who found that children of a bad marriage often ended up better off if their parents got divorced. Over the course of about 20 years or so, parents, and children of the parents, were interviewed at different ages. Parents were initially asked questions that helped to understand how much conflict was happening in their marriage. A later surveyed asked those parents new questions and tried to figure out if a divorce had occurred. A few years later the children, who would now be adults, were again surveyed and asked about how their current relationships had been faring. The surveys found that children who grew up in high conflict households usually turned out better if their parents had opted to get a divorce. In contrast to this, a happy marriage didn’t seem to have any impact on whether or not the children had positive relationships themselves later in life.

https://www.livescience.com/6648-divorce-bad-kids.html

“Divorce Has A Lasting Impact” articles:

A divorce can never be good for children no matter how amicable it is, says study

This study examined how children are affected within 3 different types of divorce; a “healthy one” in which the parents still talked to each other and rarely fought, parents who still payed childcare but did not talk, and divorces where one parent was completely gone. Each group was interviewed as children and adults, and each one gave very similar answers, which the article claims “debunks” the idea that divorces can be good. According to the study, the children of a healthy divorce often had less behavioral issues, but still suffered academically, with self esteem, and with drugs and alcohol. In fact the article claims that their grades were even worse than children who were missing a parent. The article quotes professional opinions on divorce, and it sites a study done by professionals, these two things really lend to its credibility in my opinion.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095181/A-divorce-good-children-matter-amicable-says-study.html

How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?

This is another article that claims children will experience several of the same issues as the above article. Academic failure, drugs and alcohol use, delinquency, etc., as well as psychological and emotional issues lasting later into life. One study, done by Judith Wallerstein, interviewed several children multiple times between the 1970’s and the 1990’s. She expected children to recover but instead her findings revealed that many of the participants suffered from problems as adults, especially when moving into romantic relationships. She says that anxiety causes people to make poor decisions, giving up when problems occur, or just avoiding relationships altogether. More problems can be brought on if and when one parent finds a new spouse, introducing step-family which can act as more competition for attention from the original parent and can sometimes even lead to further separation between the child and the parent.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/should-i-get-a-divorce/how-could-divorce-affect-my-kids#fn9

Conclusion

I have to take the side of the argument saying divorce is not a serious issue for children. It’s obvious that there is a risk for children to experience negative side effects to divorce, but several studies have found it to be fairly uncommon, and some studies even found divorce to be the better choice for your children’s sake, in the case of an unhealthy marriage. I think it’s really a very situational issue, some children may be hurt and some may recover, I think it goes beyond just the issue of divorce, and is likely impacted by the child’s own natural tendency toward the issues that are claimed to be caused by divorce. I know from personal experience that I turned out alright despite my parents divorce, but I also know people who had the opposite outcome. Like I said, it really depends on how prone the child naturally was to emotional scarring.


How Divorce Affects Children

Divorce is becoming more and more relevant today than it has been in recent years, and more studies have been performed to see how the children from these so called “broken homes” differ from children that come from families that are still together. A study published by The Huffington Post entitled Does Divorce Inevitably Damage Children? suggests that children from divorced families are much like children from two-parent homes, after about three years. This basically means that divorce does not, if at all, lead to social, psychological, or academic problems. Because there are differences between development of children of different ages, the divorce affects children that are younger, say a toddler for example, than someone that is older or an adolescent. The Huffington Post is as credible as its authors. The author of this specific article is a man named Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. Doctor Nowinski is a clinical psychologist and author, who has written about divorce and its affects on a family.

A second article, published by The Scientific American entitled Is Divorce Bad for Children? states that researchers have found that children typically do not experience problems with the divorce while its happening, nor when they’re adults. Of course, divorce will affect a child in the moment, bout the research suggests that the affects more or less vanish and leave the children almost if not totally back to normal. The Scientific American is a credible source because it is the longest continuously published magazine in America and has had articles contributed by many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein.

The opposing argument has been easier to find articles about. An article published by Psychology Today entitled Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones provides information suggesting that divorce is detrimental to children of all ages, including adults. The author of the article provides personal experiences growing up in a divorced home and explains how she believed the divorce was her fault, how she lost motivation and did not care what would happen to herself. Her and her brother’s social life suffered and her familial connections were destroyed.

One final source that says divorce has negative affects on children is from The Week entitled 9 Negative Effects Divorce Reportedly Has on Children. This article combines 9 different studies that all show that divorce can negatively affect children in ways that include smoking, poor social habits, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, and even, early death. The Week is a British news magazine, but also publishes an American edition. Although they are biased towards the left wing, they always source credible information.

While I believe that divorce and its affects on children varies from person to person, I would agree with the first source provided in the article. I agree that the affects of divorce can and will affect a child when the divorce is still new, but as time goes by and the child adjusts to the changes of their life, they will have a new “normal” where they function normally.

Articles:

Does Divorce Inevitably Damage Children?

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones

9 Negative Effects Divorce Reportedly Has on Children


Divorce: Spotlight Blog 1

  1. 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.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201112/the-impact-divorce-young-children-and-adolescents

 

  1. 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.

 

http://marripedia.org/effects.of.divorce.on.children.s.behavior

 

  1. 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.

 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

 

  1. 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.”

 

https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-04-24-divorce-kids-behavior_N.htm

 

Conclusion:

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.


Spotlight Post 1

Lynsey Wissler

Spotlight post 1

Divorce and the Effects on Children

Children can come through a divorce

The idea that children can come through a divorce is stated by Scientific American very clearly. Although initially after the divorce there is stress, the children can “recover rapidly.” When studying families of divorced and not divorced parents they found “very small differences…between children of divorced parents and those from intact families, suggesting that the vast majority of children endure divorce well.” The researchers then go on to state that there is only a small portion of children who endure problems related to their parent’s divorce. This source is showing that there are very minimal problems with children after a divorce when compared to children whose parents are not separated. I feel as though this source is reliable when discussing its information for several reasons. It discusses the other points of view on the topic as well as that it is a reliable website and the authors are credible.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

The idea that divorce has no detrimental impact on children and that children can come through a divorce is discussed in Psychology Today. When some people think that staying married will keep their children happy this article shows that there is more to the picture. It states that “about 80-percent of children of divorced adapt well and see no lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health.” The author goes further to state that children just need support from both parents, and adequate resources from the parents not necessarily both parents under the same roof. The article does not shy away from saying that divorced parenting isn’t easy, however, it shows how it can be done and that divorce is just a factor of parenting and that the parents control the life they provide for their children. This article was credible because it stated both sides of the argument. The author also stated where she received her statistics and is a credible author who writes for the New York Times.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/splitopia/201503/yes-you-can-raise-happy-children-after-divorce

Divorce is inherently harmful to children

            The idea that divorced parents have a detrimental effect on the children is supported in many ways. Particularly in this article, it states that high divorce rates “negatively affects many children and adolescents.” This article shows how nurses can observe the children to see the first signs of symptoms from the traumatizing divorce. The symptoms include “night terrors, enuresis, depressive signs, and regression.” These symptoms are showing that divorce is not an “okay” thing for children to deal with and they cannot come through a divorce. The article goes on to state that there can be attachment issues because of the parents’ divorce.  Overall this article shows several ways how divorce can he inherently harmful to children. I chose this source to support this reasoning because it is an academic journal and off of a database, making it reliable information. The source also shows its sources and how it obtained the given information.

http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=eba45c57-74b8-433a-9ac1-ec6d59518c1d%40sessionmgr4008

The concept that divorce is inherently harmful to children is supported in this article. It states, how students of divorced parents “grades suffer”, they “lose motivation”, and they form “anger, rebellion and apathy.” It also states how divorce doesn’t disappear and it can affect children for a long time. The article describes how “children of divorce, are more likely to divorce.” This can lead to trust issues leading into their own marriage. I chose this source from Psychology Today for several reasons. First, the author had personal experiences which she discussed in the article. Second, the author has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a licensed psychologist making her a credible, reliable source.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones

 

Based on the readings I have decided that I Think the circumstances are up to the parents on which is better for the child. I feel that when a divorce happens, it is up to the parents’ to make it known to the child that they are supported and are cared for. The child should not feel torn between parents or in the middle of the disagreement. I do think that there are ways that children can come through a divorce when it is handled properly and my articles have shown that. This is not to say that divorce is not hard on children. However, it is stating that there are ways around divorce being so inertly harmful to children.


Spotlight Blog 1

Unfortunately it is very common for couples in the US to get divorced and leave their children stuck in the crossfire. There is some controversy over the effects of divorce on children and there are numerous articles expressing the negative impacts and well as ones that support the idea that children can escape these divorces unscathed.

The first article is called “The Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents.” This article talks about the negative impacts on both young children as well as adolescents and how they deal with divorce in different ways. After a divorce, young children become more dependent on their parents due to their fear of being left behind and forgotten about. Often times, the belief of the child is that “by reverting to a former way of functioning, more parental caretaking may be forthcoming” (Pickhardt). In comparison, the adolescent believes that they need to become more independent and look out for themselves since their parents won’t. They “tend to deal more aggressively to divorce, often reacting in a mad, rebellious way” (Pickhardt). According to this article it doesn’t matter the age, there are negative effects that appear in different ways no matter what.

Similarly, the article “How Divorce Affects Children” speaks of the negative impacts of a divorce on a child. According to Emery, children who are involved with a divorce are at an increased risk for psychological and behavioral problems. Though there are those children who are resilient, and do not suffer from such problems, they still claim to experience painful memories. The main point in this article though is that there is a lot of stress put on a child and this stress tends to strain the relationships between them and their parents.

On the other side of things, the article “Is Divorce Bad for Children” says that though a child will experience pain in the moment, there won’t be any long term effects. There was a longitudinal study done by sociologist Paul R. Amato where his team followed children of divorce as they grew up into teenagers. It was found that there was a very small difference between these children and those who grew up with parents that remained married. The idea of the article was that children of divorce struggle but there are no lifelong effects on them and that they can live normal happy lives.

The second article I found was “Why a Good Divorce Is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids.” In this article, it is brought up that if a couple who didn’t want to be together anymore stayed together for their children, then that child would be subjected to daily arguments and tension in the household. In the long run, these children will experience more psychological harm than they would if their parents initially got a divorce. They will experience better home lives that are calm as well as better parenting since the parents are separated and don’t argue over everything anymore.

After looking into it, it seems as if divorces impacts on children are initially negative and might take some time to recover from but if handled properly, the child can live a happy life without any future consequences.

Sources:

Pickhardt, Carl. “The Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 19 Dec. 2011, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201112/the-impact-divorce-young-children-and-adolescents.

Emery, Robert. “How Divorce Affects Children.” Emery about Children and Divorce, emeryondivorce.com/how_divorce_affects_children.php.

Lilienfeld, Hal Arkowitz Scott O. “Is Divorce Bad for Children?” Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2013, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

Sember, Brette. “Why a Good Divorce Is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 Mar. 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brette-sember/why-a-good-divorce-is-better-than-a-bad-marriage-for-kids_b_6925236.html.


Spotlight Post 1- Children of Divorce

As divorce has significantly increased over the past years, the issue of child development has become a concern. With an average of only 40% of two parent families in the United States it’s safe to say divorce is an issue prevalent to almost everyone. You may not be immediately affected by the separation of parents but you most likely have a friend or loved one who has. It’s debated whether a child can come through divorce without any significant or serious consequence, some believe this is strictly impossible.
Looking at a recent study, I acquired from a journal article in the New York Times, 131 children from 60 families of divorce were studied over a course of 10-15 years. The author of the article Judith Wallerstine is a credible psychologist and author of the book, ”Second Chances: Men, Women & Children a Decade After Divorce”. The article the news produced was an adaptation from her book. The researches of this study thought that after a year or two, individuals would get their lives back on track and children would, “get on with new routines, new friends and new schools, taking full opportunity of the second chances that divorce brings in its wake”. However, the findings were quite different. Checking in on children about a year after a divorce they found them on a downward spiral and most were worse than they were immediately after the divorce. Looking in after 5 years they found, “only 34 percent of the children were clearly doing well”. Depression, a hard time concentrating in school, trouble making friends, and behavioral problems were reported or seen in many of these children. After the course of 10 years, almost half were still doing poorly as they entered adulthood some were angry, worried, under achieved, and self-critical. The study also indicated parents often in a divorce put substantial amounts of pressure on children to grow up fast and even sometimes participate in role reversal. The article states, “they are not simple role reversals, as some have claimed, because the child’s role becomes one of holding the parent together psychologically”. There can be emotional and physical hardships for a child trying to make whole what is left of a family in pieces (Wallerstine 1989).
Charles Bryner agrees with Judith’s stated research, in that children are in fact strongly impacted negatively by divorce. Bryner is a doctor of medicine who posted his findings in an article on Clinical Review. He states a child at an early age is dependent on both parents for support and if a parent isn’t initiating in one’s life, they tend to feel a sense of abandonment. When a parent leaves, a child may then feel rejected. Bryner describes that the loss a child feels during divorce can be compared to the same loss someone feels during death except, “divorce might actually be harder on children because it lacks the concrete cause and finality of death”. He describes stages of a child going through a parent’s divorce. One who doesn’t get adequate support can be stuck in denial. The child could be confused in this stage if a parent moves on because they don’t see the divorce with finality. He goes on to explain the negative impacts that poor father-daughter relationships can have. Resulting that many girls have poor social adjustments and during adolescence, exhibit precocious sexual activity and promiscuity. He does however throw in his writing the significance of getting help to reduce social and behavioral problems from such a traumatic event (Bryner 200).
It is believed by some that not all marital partings end harmfully. Research has said to constantly show families doing better than they are stereotyped after divorce. The more recent studies have shown less of a gap in academic achievement, self-concept, adjustment, and social competence as stated by Paul Amato author of the article “The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children”. This article was credibly published by the National Council of Family Relationships. The article actually keys in on positive aspects of divorce on children. Some studies have shown children doing better as daughters gain closer relationship with custodial mother and high-conflict marriage divorces results in a better outcome for the child. Divorce is an escape from a crazy or unhealthy home environment and a chance to develop relationships with parents without a constant having to choose sides or getting caught in between a world wind of craziness (Amato 200). As the years have changed divorced families have become more common and are less stigmatized. They over time have generated a greater support system. Although children of divorce are at high risk for adjustment problems, developmental difficulty can be reduced significantly if there are effective parenting practices and adults avoid hostile exchange in a child’s presence (Simons 1999).
My view towards the effects of divorce on children is very biased as my father and one of my best friends went through some rough parental divorce. Seen from the many studies and results in journals and articles it seems most children of a divorce as well have some difficulty adjusting after. I think it’s very rare for a child to not have any negative consequences when their parent’s split apart. However, I can recall some friends that say divorce made their parents a lot happier and because of them no longer fighting they were happier too. I believe most cases that turn out positive after divorce are contributed to parents that work together to make sure their children aren’t affected by their drama or situation. Assuring a child both parents still love them very much and setting a schedule were the child sees both parents I believe sets up for minimal negative consequences. Not all people are the same so it’s hard to say all individuals will have a negative outcome but from the reports I read and person insight, most do.

Refrences:
Amato, P.R. (2000). The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children. Journal of Marriage and Family 62(4), 1269-1287. Retrieved from:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1566735.pdfrefreqid=excelsior%3A4610afb5cf7c5ec5e22a97e212ea26b0

Bryner, C. L. (2000). Children of Divorce. Clinical Review 14(3), 202-210. Retrieved from:
http://www.jabfm.org/content/14/3/201.full.pdf

Simons, R.L., Lin, K., Gordon, L.C., Conger, R.D., & Lorenz, F.O. (1999). Explaining the Higher Incidence of Adjustment Problems Among Children of Divorce Compared with Those in Two-Parent Families. Journal of Marriage and Family 61(4), 1020-1033. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/354021.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A6e4db98a9bd7b2fa094cfdbcdb838914

Wallerstine, J.S. (1989). Children After Divorce. New York Times. Retrieved from:
http://www.weightiermatter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/children-after-divorce-new-york-times.pd


Divorce’s impact on Children

Divorce in the US is very prevalent currently with the rates at 46.37% (National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends) with data gathered by census. With this high of divorce rates  in America there have been rumors of wrecked children but what actually is the long-term effect of Divorce. One of the major factors during a divorce is the impact on the children. Parents fret over long term damage to their children such as fearing long term relationships and marriage.

In the first argument stating divorce is not harmful for children was found in an article titled “Is Divorce Bad for Children the Scientific American.” This article argued that divorce is not negative for children long term (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz).   In 2002 psychologist Hetherington at the University of Virginia concluded that most children experience temporarily negative effects from divorce (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). These feelings usually stop after a year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer. Overall most children are not affected in the long term and thrive (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). In 2001 Amato from Pennsylvania State University, studied the possible effects on children several years after a divorce (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). He studied this by comparing a control of children with married parents and children from divorced parents (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). This study compared their academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, and relationships (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). There was little to no significant difference in results supporting the claim Divorce does not negatively impact children in the long term.

In Berlins’s Article supporting divorce doesn’t negatively impact children. The study found that there were many different factors such as impact, violence, employment and support (Berlin). The Study suggested that in average middle class white family divorce doesn’t impact the children negatively in the long term. This is because they have enough support and economic wellbeing.

The argument that divorce negatively impacts children focuses on the short-term effect mainly (Gross). This article specifically was published by the Huffington post focuses on the impacts by age. Younger children are confused and older children are still egocentric and cannot imagine the idea of their parents living apart (Gross).  The article doesn’t focus on after the separation. Anyone no matter the age feels uprooted moving. The change in routine is difficult for children.

The next article is about the impact of family structure on health of children by the National Center of Biotechnology. This article argues by three decades of research that children “married, biological parents consistently have better physical, emotional, and academic well-being” (Anderson).   The only exception to this rule was when violence was involved. The study showed that the average age of women getting married increased and the rate of marriages decreased (Anderson). The implications of the study suggest that the emotional instability.  The long-term argument argued that the emotional implications are worse because of relationship with parents (Anderson).

In my experience, I believe divorce is in the long term is not negative. In the short term I do believe it is very stressful even as an adult.  Currently my family is moving and my fifteen-year-old sister is moving schools. I agree with Berlins perspective that each family is different and has different factors such as economics and emotional support. I also agree with Gross’s stance that the age of children changes their interpretation. In conclusion there are many factors and in short term it is negative because of change of routine. In the long term the majority of children adjust.

Bibliography

Anderson, Jane. “The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce.” The Linacre Quarterly, Maney Publishing, Nov. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240051/.

Berlin, Gordon Anonymous. “The Effects of Marriage and Divorce on Families and Children.” Mdrc, 24 Apr. 2017, http://www.mdrc.org/publication/effects-marriage-and-divorce-families-and-children.

Gross, Dr. Gail. “The Impact of Divorce on Children of Different Ages.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Mar. 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-impact-of-divorce-on-children-of-different-ages_b_6820636.html.

Lilienfeld, Hal Arkowitz Scott O. “Is Divorce Bad for Children?” Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/.

“National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Nov. 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm.

 


Is Divorce Harmful or Helpful?

Throughout several studies, the children going through the divorce is always the common factor in what effects it can have in dividing a family. Some studies may show that it can damage children and their morals, effecting them all the way up until they are at the point where marriage and children may be questionable due to their family’s past experience with separation. Other studies have found that divorce is better for children in the long run rather than living in a hostile environment with parents who no longer love each other. These children may end up perfectly fine, or may have some challenges to face when they mature. Dr. Jann Gumbiner talks about how many children that grow up in a divorced home struggle when they are older making their own decisions. She states, “Children, even intelligent ones or older ones, often think it is their fault. There is a lot of self blame (Gumbiner 1). This is her main argument to why no divorce could ever end up positively, due to it’s effect on children. She also adds in some well respected emotion because she comes from a divorced family and she has personal struggles of her own. Gumbiner is certain these struggles can be applied to so many children since their parents’ marriages ended. Similarly, Robert Emery talks about how divorce can be stressful on children and cause necessary problems in the future. He states, “Troubled children are particularly likely to develop problems with anger, disobedience, and rule violations” (Emery 1). This leads us to believe that divorce will cause major issues in the personality of the child and their development process, which is a much bigger issue than just the stress it could cause them. On the other hand, some professionals believe that divorce is the better option for some families and their children involved. Brette Sember, a divorce attorney and mediator, explores the idea of how divorce could be beneficial to a child’s life instead of living with dysfunctional parents. She makes a good point saying, “While there is no question that divorce is hard for kids, it is a far cry better than raising your children in a violent, abusive, angry, or deeply resentful marriage” (Sember 1). This takes you down the opposite road, seeing what it would be like if a couple did keep their kids in a family where every day they are exposed to the exact opposite of love. This can surround the child with non-stop hatred while living in a hostile environment, leaving them with a negative childhood experience all around. Supporting this, Novack Law offices has an article published stating, “It can be very upsetting for children to feel that they need to choose between the two feuding parents they love” (Novack 1). It is interesting to see how the lawyers and medical professionals differ in how they word why it can be a positive thing for children to go through divorce. It seems like a common thing to consider the negative emotions during this time, but the positives could very well out weigh the negatives while a divorce is proceeding. Both sides have a great point in whether or not divorce could be positive or negative for children; I believe I agree with the side supporting that divorce is negative only due to personal experience. My parents divorced when I was six, so I didn’t have to go through any major fights growing up, and it was never really a hostile environment; it was just a tough atmosphere growing up in separate households and juggling activities and academics while dealing with split parents. Based on research, I believe there is more negative outcomes rather than positive, especially when it comes to how a child will grow up with split parents. Keeping grades up and maintaining well mental health as a child is stressful enough, and I agree that it would only put more pressure on children attempting to do this with divorced parents.

“3 Reasons a Thoughtful Divorce Can Be Better for Kids Than an Unhappy Marriage.” 3 Reasons Why Divorce Can Be Good for Kids | Novack Law Offices, http://www.novacklawoffices.com/blog/3-reasons-why-divorce-can-be-good-for-kids.

Sember, Brette. “Why a Good Divorce Is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 Mar. 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brette-sember/why-a-good-divorce-is-better-than-a-bad-marriage-for-kids_b_6925236.html.

Emery, Robert E. “How Divorce Affects Children.” Emery about Children and Divorce, emeryondivorce.com/how_divorce_affects_children.php.

Gumbiner, Jann. “Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 31 Oct. 2011, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones.