Negative Effects Of Divorce On Children
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Divorce is the worst situation that a child experiences in the growth and development life which they have to cope up with. The effects divorce has on children depend on age of the child when divorce occurs. Other factors that determines the effects the divorce impacts on children depends on child's personality and the gender, the support offered by other family members and relatives besides the frequency of conflicts and disagreements between parents determines the magnitude of the effect. In consideration of age, young children who are below two years of age are less affected by divorce although this might not be the case when there is a close relationship between the children and the parent (s). These infants do not get to understand the nature of the conflict but nevertheless they react to the changes that accompany divorce. When such a situation is prone to happen, the concerned parents should make special and prior arrangements on childcare and parenting to reduce the negative influence their separation would impact on children (Alison and Cornelia 34).
Children who are yet to join school (preschool children) usually takes the blame incase divorce and separation occurs. This is facilitated by their fear of been abandoned and left alone by parents' separation. However if separation through divorce occur, preschoolers responds by turning to be uncooperative, angry and depressed. Their personality is also greatly affected and they change completely from their initial socialization when they become aggressive and disobedient towards any adult near them while living a life of denial that nothing happened (DeBord 12).
Divorce has the greatest and long lasting effect on school aged children than the young ones. Their personality and emotional attachment to their parent is so strong that they find it extremely difficult to cope up and adjust with the new situation of loneliness of either parent. The difficult situation experienced by elementary children who are school age results from their maturity to understand every bit of situation that is happening with their parents. This age is mature and old enough to comprehend and feel the pain associated with separation from divorce of their parents. The unfortunate part that school age children undergo is the inability they have to control the internal pain caused by divorce (Mary 1).
The manifestations associated with effects of divorce on this age group of children are resentment, grief, intensive anger, embarrassment, resentment and divided loyalty. They also tend to be isolated from other children and may develop total withdraw from other children's activities like creative playing and games. These children live with a hope that their parents will still return together; in case of otherwise, these children feel rejected by the parent who left. Apart from personality and emotional effects, divorce at this age may affect the health of children who may frequently complain of stomachaches and headaches (Eileen and Josephine 23).
When divorce occurs during adolescent stage of children, its effects are more severe than any other stage in child's development. Some teenagers feel abandoned, guilt and a sense fear. Their emotional set up is severely disrupted by divorce; they experience loneliness, depression and anger towards other people and mostly their parents especially the one who has left. During this age, the children are mature enough to handle some family responsibilities. However they feel punished and burdened especially when they are responsible for the childcare of their younger siblings. Their response is always swift and they try to fill the gap by assuming adult responsibilities due to high levels of stress and low energy levels with their parents. Some teenagers struggle with sexual desires since they have no one to confine to and experience low self esteem of handling marriage and getting married. Since teenagers understood well the causes and situations surrounding their parents separation and subsequent divorce, their stability in education greatly declines due to lack of concentration and stability, in addition, they are not in a position to deal with future changes occurring in their family life. Children in this age bracket gets themselves in a confused state of mind since they are unable to decide which parent to accept over the other (Hughes 12).
The pressure they experience on deciding who to blame for the cause of divorce stress them up affecting negatively their academic life declining in performance since they spend much of their school time evaluating and thinking about the situation back at home. They are also occupied with many thoughts especially if they have assumed responsibilities to take care of their younger siblings. Their emotional status is greatly affected since they experienced whatever happened with their parents; they lose confidence with marriage institutions and do no longer have ability and confidence to handle their family life (Mary 1).
Based on gender, children who are raised by parent of the opposite sex are greatly affected by divorce more than boys raised by fathers and girls raised by mothers after divorce. Children raised by opposite sex tend to develop aggressive behaviors and resentment. Emotional disorders are common to children brought up by opposite sex parent while those raised by same sex tends to be responsible and respond to their environments more quickly. Although age, gender and other factors have been identified as influencers of the extent to how children respond or/ and affected by divorce, the most determining factor is the parent to children relationship (Alison and Cornelia 43).
However, children should be assisted to adjust to divorce situations in their life. The parent in custody of children should consistently maintain communication and discussion of divorce regardless of how painful it is to the children to help them overcome it. This process will also assure their confidence and adequately prepare them for the future especially the adolescent group who requires understanding in a more detailed manner than younger ones. To recover quickly and reduce the effects of divorce, conflicts and aggressiveness of parents after divorce should be minimized and avoided if possible. Finally disruptions of children should be kept at low levels always and parents should have proper plans of how to deal with after divorce events.
- Alison Clarke and Cornelia Brentano, “Divorce: causes and consequences,” Yale: Yale University Press, 2006
- DeBord Kennedy, “Focus on Kids: The effects of divorce on children,” North Carolina, Cangage Learning, 1997
- Eileen Hetherington and Josephine Arasteh,” Impact of divorce, single parenting and step parenting on children, New York: Routledge, 2001
- Hughes Recker, “Parenting on your own:” Illinois, Routledge, 1999
- Mary Temke, “The effects of Divorce on Children: Family and Consumer Resources,” Retrieved on April 5th 2010 from: http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache%3AQPgXCQMt0pcJ%3Aextension.unh.edu%2FFamily%2FDocuments%2FDivorce.pdf+The+negative+effects+of+divorce+on+children&hl=en&gl=ke
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