An introduction to the many explanations of divorce to children

PDF version Introduction The past few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in family life in all industrial countries. Moreover, recent increases in non-marital births, driven largely by rising rates of childbearing among cohabiting couples, have also resulted in a greater number of children experiencing the separation of their never-married parents. Children and adolescents who experience the divorce of their parents also have higher rates of depressed mood, lower self-esteem, and emotional distress.

An introduction to the many explanations of divorce to children

PDF version Introduction The past few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in family life in all industrial countries. Moreover, recent increases in non-marital births, driven largely by rising rates of childbearing among cohabiting couples, have also resulted in a greater number of children experiencing the separation of their never-married parents.

Children and adolescents who experience the divorce of their parents also have higher rates of depressed mood, lower self-esteem, and emotional distress. Parental divorce is also associated with negative outcomes and earlier life transitions as offspring enter young adulthood and later life.

Children of divorce are more likely to experience poverty, educational failure, early and risky sexual activity, non-marital childbirth, earlier marriage, cohabitation, marital discord and divorce. In fact, emotional problems associated with divorce actually increase during young adulthood.

Problems First, research needs to specifically identify the magnitude of the effects of divorce because so many other risk factors frequently co-occur with parental separation.

So, the question is how large are the differences between offspring who do and do not experience parental separation? What is the magnitude of the effects associated with parental separation?

To which extent are the associations causal and what are the specific environmental factors that mediate or explain the associations? The first, the causal hypothesis, suggests that divorce itself harms children and causes their subsequent problems.

How can I help my child through divorce?

In contrast, the selection hypothesis emphasizes that divorced parents are different from those who do not divorce and that these differences lead both to divorce and to later adjustment problems in the children. Research studies have used numerous designs to test the causal and selection factors.

The research has highlighted the role of ongoing or perhaps increased parental conflict after the divorce, poorer parenting before and after the separation, subsequent economic stressors, lack of contact and meaningful parent-child interactions with the nonresidential parent, and increased residential mobility.

Research Gaps Future research needs to examine the causes and consequences of multiple family transitions,9 especially into and out of the ambiguous status of not married but not divorced. More rigorous research, especially studies that randomly assign families to different interventions, is absolutely essential.

Children and Divorce: Helping Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce

Experiencing parental separation is associated with roughly a two-fold increase on average, but an overwhelming majority of children and adolescents do not exhibit impairing problems after parental separations. In other words, recent research highlights an increased risk for negative outcomes but parental divorce separation does not necessarily doom a child to have major, impairing problems.

Children and adolescents who experience parental divorce, however, frequently experience great emotional distress during the separation and afterward. Recent research that uses numerous designs to test the underlying causal mechanisms suggests that the increased risk for impairing problems is not due solely to selection factors risks that increase both parental separation and problems in the offspring.

Rather, ongoing conflicts between the co-parents after the separation, problems with poor parenting, financial difficulties resulting from the separation, and loss of contact with the non-residential parent help explain the association between parental divorce and offspring functioning.

Implications Policymakers, scholars and professionals are currently engaged in a debate about the importance of marriage and the consequences of divorce.

Debates about how to improve the lives of children frequently propose initiatives that focus either on a cultural and legal policies to strengthen marriage or b programs that focus on economic, social and psychological resources to improve the lives of families.

A strict dichotomy, however, fails to recognize that family structure, family processes and contextual factors influence and interact with each other. Families are more likely to flourish in environments where marriage is strong and where families have access to the material, social and psychological resources they need.

Marriage and child wellbeing. The Future of Children ; European Perspectives on Union Formation. The Ties that Bind: Perspectives on Marriage and Cohabitation. Aldine de Gruyter; Continuity and Change in the American Family. Bumpass L, Lu H. Continuing trends and new developments. Journal of Marriage and Family ; Parental divorce and child adjustment.

Perspectives on Psychological Science ;4:In today’s society, divorce has become a normal thing in our lives.

Married couples today are getting a divorce due to many different reasons, either because a spouse having an affair, a loss of.

An introduction to the many explanations of divorce to children

Divorce impacts the lives of many people outside of the divorcing family including many aspects of society. Divorce is playing an active role in reshaping the culture of the USA by changing the definition of the family (Schaefer, ).

- The Effects of Divorce on children A Review of the Literature Introduction Background In today's society, there are many different types of families.

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Some include . The Effects of Divorce on Children Robert Hughes, Jr. INTRODUCTION Probably the most frequently asked question over the last two decades has been, "Is divorce harmful to.

The divorce can actually benefit the child in several ways.

Effects of Divorce on Children | Teen Ink

If the parents were being abusive to one another and/or to the children involved prior to the divorce chances are the divorce will result in less fighting/arguing among the parents which in return would result in a better environment for the child. Similarly, about half of all first marriages end in divorce, and when children are involved, many of the resulting single-parent households are poor.

For example, less than 10 percent of married couples with children are poor as compared with about 35 to 40 percent of single-mother families.

The Effects of Marriage and Divorce on Families and Children | MDRC