Divorce. The infectious disease-like product of frequent problems and hate within a married couple. It is overtaking America’s people and rearranging the average person’s thought process on relationships. It has ruined the lives of both adults and children and frequently causes problems. Whether it is a messy divorce or a clean one, it leaves a painful scar on any child in the way of the conflict. Divorce causes problems, that is what it boils down to. And once the problems start, it is hard to stop them.
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Many people of all ages have been affected by divorce. When we asked one of our subjects what their reaction to the divorce they immediately responded: “I just thought it was a big fight, but then it set in that they were never going to be together again.” Our subject was so shocked that it happened that it took him a while to comprehend that his parents will no longer live together. We also asked him what parts of the family were affected and they said, “My dad moved away three months later but during those months, there was tons of fighting and yelling. After he moved out, my mom had to get a full time job in order to support two children.” () Our subject had to go through many fights and arguments and then an angry divorce. After the divorce, our subject could not spend much time with each parent. A complicated custody battle went on and now our subject must spend less time with his dad and more with his mom. This weakens his relationship with his father, and makes it so that he will never have a father to go to when seeking guidance.
We also asked our subject how living in two separate houses affected him. In response, he said that “It is one of the upsides of the divorce. Say I get in trouble at my moms house, I go to my dads to cool off. It is like living two lives.” () Most people may think that living two lives may be difficult, but our subject took his predicament and turned around to the best it can be. However, when we interviewed another subject, they said that “The worst part was living in separate homes because my parents were in different states. So, coming home from graduation, I had no parents to go to, I had to decide which parent to visit. Also, holidays were difficult because I had to choose which house to visit.” ()
Our subject’s parents were divorced when she was 21. Although this age is older than usual, she still had many hardships to go through. She could never get her parents together for any important events. When she graduated, she could not get her parents together to celebrate. () Also, at her wedding, she could not seat her parents together, or make a toast to them because they refused to talk to each other. When she had her children, she could never take them to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house, she must choose where to go.
Our subject had many sad and angry feelings about the divorce. “I was sad that they had been married for so long and raised three kids, but confused why they would get a divorce when it was their time, not their children.” () Her sister was also angered about the divorce. For many years, she would not speak to her father, and blamed him for everything. This made getting together as a family even more difficult because her sister would often not visit her father. Overall, family life got difficult due to the mixed feelings between everyone.()
Different ages and different genders also change the effects of each child. In most occasions infants are not as affected as preschooler aged children and ages above that. Infants will notice the mood changes of their parents, but do not understand conflict. They will spit up, or throw-up, more often once they begin to understand the conflict between their parents, or may not want to eat as much. Preschoolers (ages3-5) are much more affected because they start to believe that it is their fault that their parents no longer wish to be together. (, www.childrenanddivorce.com) They believe that their parents are getting divorce for reasons like: they did not do their homework or their chores. Preschoolers also begin to fear that they will be abandoned, and will then have more baby-like behavior. These actions will then cause them to start denying that anything has changed, or became very angry and filled with rage. School-aged children are able to understand what is going on between the two spouses, and are more vulnerable to it. (, www.childrenanddivorce.com) They realize that they are suffering emotional problems because of their parents divorce. Although, they may be old enough to realize what is occurring in the home, they are too young to control their emotions. Teens and adolescents alike both feel that they have lost one of their parents, or the teens themselves would never be able to get married, and stay married. (, www.childrenanddivorce.com)
Different genders, also means the divorce has had a different effect on the child. A recent scientific study has showed that boys raised by their fathers are better off living a more normal life, than living with a parent of the opposite sex. Boys living with their fathers are more apt to be less aggressive and have fewer emotional problems. (, www.childrenanddivorce.com) Girls living with their mothers are also more apt to be more mature than those living with their fathers. Children that are being raised by the opposite gender are more likely to have emotional problems, and be much more vulnerable to more problems that occur in the home. In divorce, girls may be more emotional to the problems that are going on at home, while boys may be more vicious and become angrier easier. Different genders can be a major effect on how the child turns out after either a messy, or a quick and clean divorce. (, www.childrenanddivorce.com)
During a divorce, the child begins to change and may start to have behavioral issues. At all times during a divorce, stress is always acting on the child or the children that are in the middle of it. Most children in a divorce do not develop major behavioral issues unless a divorce is incredibly messy. (Robert E. Emery, emeryondivorce.com) Children begin to become more resilient against their parents as well as other adult figures like teachers. Children are more resilient when their parents do an adequate job handling the stress that is continuously put on the child. Children that were resilient during a divorce grow up to have painful memories and worries about divorce nearly everyday. The child’s relationship with the parents is a major effect on if the child will have painful memories (Robert E. Emery, emeryondivorce.com). If the child had a very close relationship, but then were separated from said parent, they are more likely to be resilient against the other parent. This may cause more issues between the child and any other parent-like figure.
Divorce is very stressful and energy consuming for the couple being divorced. There are many steps and a whole lot of opposing ideas between the couple. Though it is horrible for the couple, you really have to think about it from a kid’s perspective. Kids don’t have the experience that the couple does in dealing with all the stress of divorce, so on them, divorce could be 10 times worse on them than it is on the actual couple. There have been many tests and experiments that involve this idea of divorce with kids and the results are frightening. A test was held on 99 college students whose parents had been divorced at least 3 years before when this test took place (Robert E. Emery, emeryondivorce.com). It is amazing because 73% of these college aged students reported that they would be a different person had their parents not divorced. Another amazing statistic is that 48% of these students said that they had a harder childhood than most other kids and the divorce still causes struggles for them. As you can see, divorce is a painful thing for anybody of any age. If these college-aged students were hurt this much from divorce, you can only imagine how much divorce can hurt a young elementary school aged child. It has been shown that 25% of kids that have parents that go through divorce come out of it with very serious emotional and social problems. This is a huge problem because it is such a big number (Robert E. Emery, emeryondivorce.com).
Divorce can have many different effects on kids, the biggest being stress. Stress is a huge problem with kids that experience their parents going through divorce. The child does not want their parents to separate, unless of course, the relationship is violent (, www.childrenanddivorce.com). The child has a hard time getting over the fact that the parents are going to be separated, and many times, especially for younger aged children, they really don’t understand what is going on and they fear the consequences. Divorce can also affect the parent-child relationships. Many times in divorced relationships, the child may not see one parent as much as the other. They feel detached and they don’t know what to do about it, they feel helpless (, www.childrenanddivorce.com). Divorce can also create economic problems in the family. This can be stressful for the child for obvious reasons. Lastly, when parents get divorced, many times the biggest problem is the legal conflicts. These can be hugely stressful on the kids because again, they feel helpless. They have no idea of what to do or what is going to happen. It feels like to them, it all plays out without them having a say (, www.childrenanddivorce.com).
Divorce can cause some serious psychological problems. Many times in divorces, kids can develop anger issues. They become very irritable and everything is wrong to them. They can also develop disobedience problems and will violate rules. They feel like they need the attention that they feel like they are not getting, which many times they really are not. Another common problem is school performance (, www.childrenanddivorce.com). This can be a big deal because this can happen to any kid, even the outgoing ones. Also, it is possible for a kid to become overly responsible. There have been cases where this has happened and the kid ends up taking care of the parent more than the parent taking care of the kid (, www.childrenanddivorce.com).
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The last common effect is depression. Depression is a horrible thing that just many times, really can’t be helped too much. It has been shown that a child’s parents splitting up often brings on depression. Depression is a horrible thing that can stick with people for a long time and should be avoided at all costs. Depression hurts and is a big problem with many people. Depression can also develop into many of things mentioned before including many of the psychological problems and constant stress (, www.childrenanddivorce.com).
The last thing to remember that is probably the most important out of any of this is that the large majority of kids that have parents that go through divorce (about 70-75% of them) do not develop any serious problems at all. There may be some short-term stress or other quite small problems but they will act and be just kids, and that is all they want to be. They don’t want to be knows as a child of divorce. The majority of kids will be fine and will go on acting and doing things just like any other kid (, www.childrenanddivorce.com).
Many divorces happen for a good reason and can be the best choice and positive for a family. However, they do not have a positive impact on the child. Many children tend to think that the divorce was their fault and they are the reason that one of the parents left. This self-blame is called an “outlet”. Children use “outlets” to cope with their parents getting divorced (www.stopdivorcesource.com). (You can apply this to other problems where people use certain thoughts or actions to cope with that problem. Other outlets are drug abuse, alcohol abuse, withdrawal, acting out, and sexual activity. When children use “outlets” or blame themselves for the divorce, they can be affected negatively for their whole life. As adults, kids that use outlets will have trouble in relationships, finding a job, and may have marital issues (www.stopdivorcesource.com).
Often kids feel out of place within the first few years of their parent’s divorce. Especially boys are affected. Most likely, the custodial parent will be the mother and this has a dramatic affect on the boys because they feel like they should be spending time with their parent of the same sex. They cannot bond with a father (www.stopdivorcesource.com). They may see other boys with their dads having a catch or kicking a ball around. Without a male to look up to and bond with, it could change the way the child grows up because they start to act out, get in trouble in places like school, and make bad decisions that they would know not to make if a dad was there to help them grow up. Basically, kids feel out of place when a divorce occurs because they are missing what other kids have: a two-parent house (www.stopdivorcesource.com).
Usually, the father is the “bad parent” in a divorce. The mother gets custody over the children more than less and the dad moves out. Because the dad only has limited time to spend with the children, the kids may feel like he doesn’t want to be with them or he dislikes them (www.stopdivorcesource.com). Even though this usually isn’t true, it separates the dad from his children and the family. When the dad does spend time with the kids, he acts more like a pal than a parent. Many dads will ignore responsibilities like having the kids do homework and have them play outside. This will also make them the bad parent in the mother’s eyes. Also, when either parent wants to get remarried, it’s hard for them to take care of the children. This makes the kids feel like they are being ignored and rejected or that the parent is moving on (www.stopdivorcesource.com).
There has been a huge increase in divorce. It seems like that is all you hear about is everyone getting divorced. But is that the right choice? Are parents that selfish to not even think how their kid will be. Kids have bigger problems with divorce then the parents do. Do parents realize that 1 in 5 kids will commit suicide just from their parents getting divorced. When the parental divorce chart went up, so did the suicide chart (www.divorceinfo.com). Parents don’t realize what their kids are feeling when they get divorce. Their kids are hurt. And they don’t think what or how their kids are felling. They just care about themselves.
Suicide is not the only problem with divorced parents; drug and alcohol abuse is another huge problem. Teenagers think that drug abuse is the only way out of everything. A huge factor of drug abuse is when kids parents get divorced they get more depressed and hang out with the wrong crowd; which influences kids into drug addiction (www.divorceinfo.com). Witch will make them happy and they will think that if they do drugs it will make them happy and all of their problems will go away, until they are not high anymore. So what do they do? They do it again.
Depression is another factor in parental divorce. Without having both parents around kids get sick of seeing the same person over and over again. So they start to get into arguments with them. Then it gets more serious where it gets to a point where you can’t even talk without starting an argument. Arguing with their parent over and over will make kids sad (www.divorceinfo.com). With both of their parents in the house it seems everything changes because you don’t have to talk to the same person over and over.
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