These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. E. Amato in Family Relations, Vol. 52, No. 4, pages 332 339; Harvard University Press 1994)I can t stress how important it is to know all the facts before you get a divorce. These findings suggest that only 15 percent of adult children of divorce experience problems over and above those from stable families. They should also deliver discipline that is neither overly permissive nor overly strict. Emery of the University of Virginia concluded that the relationships of adults whose parents
On all other measures, differences between the two groups were small. Bouncing BackEven though children of divorce generally do well, a number of factors can reduce the problems they might experience. The studies compared children of married parents with those who experienced divorce at different ages. Whose parents divorce every year feel as if their worlds are falling apart. What Hurts, What Helps In the latter situation, the maladjusted parent should seek professional help or consider limiting his or her time with the child. For instance, people whose parents split when they were young experience more difficulty forming and sustaining intimate relationships as young adults, greater dissatisfaction with their marriages, a higher divorce rate and poorer relationships with the noncustodial father compared with adults from sustained marriages. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1988) 18. Children of divorced parents are roughly two times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers who benefit from living with parents who did not divorce. (McLanahan, Sandefur, Growing Up With a Single Parent: If you re seriously considering divorce and you haven t attempted to, I ve just given you 18 that should give you the motivation you need to not give up hope just yet. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children s Adjustment For example, in a 2002 book, For Better or For Worse: Fighting. Taken together, the findings suggest that only a small percentage of young people experience divorce-related problems. Apparently when marital conflict is muted, children are often unprepared when told about the upcoming divorce. Divorce Reconsidered. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Children with an easygoing temperament tend to fare better. Children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce process or minimize the child s exposure to it. It instead demonstrates that most children of divorce become well-adjusted adults. The effects of conflict before the separation, however, may be the reverse in some cases. In a 1985 study Hetherington and her associates reported that some children who are exposed to high levels of marital discord prior to divorce adjust better than children who experience low levels. A child raised by his/her mother is 10 times more likely to be beaten or murdered. 13. A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure. (Wallerstein The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children A 25 Year Landmark Study, Judith Wallerstein, then at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues present detailed case studies suggesting that most adults who were children of divorce experience serious problems such as depression and relationship issues. Yet scientific research does not support the view that problems in adulthood are prevalent; Judith Wallerstein, Quantitative Family Research, and Children of Divorce. W. It may help save a child s life down the road. (And no, I m not figuratively speaking either. just keep reading to find out what I mean. ) 1. Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent s marriage. Only a minority of kids suffer longer. Most children of divorce also do well in the longer term. Other factors contributing to children s adjustment include postdivorce economic stability and social support from peers and other adults, such as teachers. In addition, certain characteristics of the child can influence his or her resilience. Journal of Early Adolescence 1993) 16. Children of divorce, particularly boys, tend to be more aggressive toward others than those children whose parents did not divorce. (Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children s Adjustment, 1988) 17. People who come from broken homes are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who do not come from broken homes. (Velez-Cohen, Suicidal Behavior and Ideation in a Community Sample of Children Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993) 7. Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E. Some troubles may arise from conflict between Mom and Dad associated with the divorce. Norton, 2002. Reconciling Divergent Perspectives: For example, children who are good problem solvers and who seek social support are more resilient than those who rely on distraction and avoidance. The good news is that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. Tell your friends, acquaintances and co-workers to read these shocking statistics about divorce and children. Your child s life is in your hands. Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997) 4. Of all children born to married parents this year, fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday. (Fagan, Fitzgerald, Rector, The Effects of Divorce On America) 5. Studies in the early 1980 s showed that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around. (Andrew J. Even here the causes of these lingering difficulties remain uncertain. Parents can also support their children during this difficult time by talking to them clearly about the divorce and its implications and answering their questions fully. Other, more general facets of good parenting can also buffer against divorce-related difficulties in children. October 2003.
The stress of the situation can also cause the quality of parenting to suffer. Paul R. National Health Interview Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family) 9. Following divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two parent families. (Angel, Worobey, Single Motherhood and Children s Health ) 10. Children living with both biological parents are 20 to 35 percent more physically healthy than children from broken homes. (Dawson, Family Structure and Children s Health and Well-being Researchers have found that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems in the wake of divorce or, later, as adults. Divorcing parents are usually very concerned about the welfare of their children during this troublesome process. Many of the 1. 5 million children in the U. S. Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly. 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. On average, the studies found only very small differences on all these measures between children of divorced parents and those from intact families, suggesting that the vast majority of children endure divorce well. Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. Parents should provide warmth and emotional support, and they should closely monitor their children s activities. The investigators followed these kids into later childhood, adolescence or the teenage years, assessing their academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, self-concept and social relationships. Kelly of Corte Madera, Calif., and Robert E. Type of people who don t accept anything as true unless it s from a credible source or it s been PROVEN in a convincing study. If you are NOT one of these people, you need to read this anyway. These days most people accept divorce as a way of life, completely unaware of the damage they are doing to their children. In 2000 in a book entitled The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: Marriages failed do tend to be somewhat more problematic than those of children from stable homes. Most children bounce back and get through this difficult situation with few if any battle scars. This article was originally published with the title Is Divorce Bad for Children? (Further Reading)For Better or For Worse: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1991) 14. Seventy percent of long-term prison inmates grew up in broken homes. (Horn, Bush, Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform) 15. Children of divorce are four times more likely to report problems with peers and friends than children whose parents have kept their marriages intact. (Tysse, Burnett, Moral Dilemmas of Early Adolescents of Divorced and Intact Families. These problems can impair a parent s ability to offer children stability and love when they are most in need. Grown-up ConcernsThe experience of divorce can also create problems that do not appear until the late teenage years or adulthood. Children of divorce are at a greater risk to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than children whose parents have remained married. (Dawson, Family Structure and Children s Health and Well Being They are surprised, perhaps even terrified, by the news. Further, children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those whose primary parent is doing poorly. Some parents are so worried that they remain in unhappy marriages, believing it will protect their offspring from the trauma of divorce. Yet parents who split have reasons for hope. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage Harvard University Press 1981) 6. Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year. (Peter Hill Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development Sage Publications, 1988)These statistics about children and divorce are pretty shocking, aren t they? 8. In this column, we discuss these findings as well as factors that may protect children from the potentially harmful effects of divorce. Rapid RecoveryDivorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. Amato, then at Pennsylvania State University, examined the possible effects on children several years after a divorce. In addition, children from high-discord families may experience the divorce as a welcome relief from their parents In a quantitative review of the literature in 2001, sociologist Paul R. Journal of Marriage and the Family) 11. Most victims of child molestation come from single-parent households or are the children of drug ring members. (Los Angles Times 16 September 1985 The Garbage Generation) 12. A Child in a female-headed home is 10 times more likely to be beaten or murdered. (The Legal Beagle, July 1984, from The Garbage Generation )This is what I mean when I said these statistics on divorce and children could save a child s life someday. Divorce frequently contributes to depression, anxiety or substance abuse in one or both parents and may bring about difficulties in balancing work and child rearing. Divorce Reconsidered, Hetherington and her co-author, journalist John Kelly, describe a 25-year study in which Hetherington followed children of divorce and children of parents who stayed together. No one knows whether this difference is caused by the divorce itself or by variables, such as poorer parenting, that often accompany a marriage s dissolution. In a review article in 2003, psychologists Joan B. Coping styles also make a difference. She found that 25 percent of the adults whose parents had divorced experienced serious social, emotional or psychological troubles compared with 10 percent of those whose parents remained together. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent s second marriage. (Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, Life Course ) 2. Among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, one of every 10 will also live through three or more parental marriage breakups. (The Abolition of Marriage, Gallagher) 3. Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. (Wade, Horn and Busy, Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform Did you read #12? I ve compiled these children and divorce statistics for the I ll believe it when I see it Divorce and children term papers.