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Autor: anton • September 16, 2010 • 819 Words (4 Pages) • 874 Views
The Effects of Divorce on Children
The statistics for divorce in the 1990's suggest that nearly sixty percent of marriages end in divorce. Given this startling figure, the presumption can be made that many children will experience some effects caused by the life-changing event called divorce. What is it exactly about divorce that causes negative consequences for these children? In what ways will these children be effected? Will these effects show outwardly? The unsettling fact is: young children of divorced parents face great psychological challenges due to the environmental conditions and changes associated with divorce (Wolchik and Karoly 45). When we pass the year 2000, we will see two groups of working age adults emerging. One group will have received psychological, social, economic, educational and moral benefits and the other group will have been denied them all. The first group will have grown up with both parents present in the house and the second group will have not had both parents present.
Parental conflict appears to have a pronounced effect on the coping efforts of children. The intense anxiety and anger between some parents in the early stages of divorce is real. Often times parents allow their children to get in the middle of fierce verbal fighting between them. Berating the other parent in front of the child is another way of placing the child in an unfair position, which in essence is expecting the child to choose between the parents. Any form of parental conflict, no matter to what degree, lends to a difficult adjustment period for children involved. (Jekielek 1-3).
The deterioration in parent-child relationships after divorce is another leading cause in psychological problems for children. With a divorce comes a parenting plan of some kind. A child may experience shared custody between both parents or custody by one parent with visitation by the other parent. Variations of these plans can be included or added at different times in the child's life depending on special circumstances. More often than not, the mother is awarded custody of the children. The absence of the father on a full time level is detrimental to the healthy development of the children. In the case that the father is awarded custody of the children, the opposite applies as well. Studies have shown that a decay in custodial parent-child relationships may frequently occur in the first year or two following divorce (Wolchik and Karoly 56-59).
Constant confusion and inconsistent parenting are supplying factors to the adaptation of children. Consistency is the key to helping children adapt quickly with as few psychologically traumatic scars as possible. The consistency should be practiced in every aspect of the child's life including: eating and drinking adult foods, potty training, sleeping in their own bed, discipline, "house rules" showing respect towards others, sharing, and routines wake up and bed times, meal times, play times. Because parents may have different ideas of what consistency means and how children should be raised, it is often a difficult task for the parent to help encourage positive and progressive development for the