The Impact of Divorce on Children
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The Impact of Divorce on Children
In today’s society, divorce rates have skyrocketed, and the normalization of divorce is substantial. According to Kennedy and Ruggles, the divorce rates in the United States have doubled over the past two decades among persons who are over the age of thirty-five (2014). When there are children involved in a divorce, there are many negative consequences attached to it. If the situation is not handled correctly by the parents, the children may suffer for years to come. Children who have parents that are divorced have higher rates of emotional, behavioral, and even cognitive issues (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). The impact of divorce on children is important to the field of human development in many ways. For instance, children who have parents who are divorced may face different issues than a child whose parents are still married. According to Broderick and Blewitt, about 20% to 25% of children whose parents are divorced
experience problematic outcomes, and only about 10% of children with married parents experience problematic outcomes or issues (2020). For instance, adolescents and young adults who have divorced parents can have more difficulties with relationships. They may have issues establishing and maintaining intimate relationships (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). This is especially true if the child did not cope well after the divorce.
Parent influences have a major impact on the stress and emotions of the child when going through a divorce. For this reason, it is crucial that parents can handle their emotions while in front of their children. It is also important that they do not vent to their children or bad-talk their partner to their child. This will put the child in the middle of the situation, and they will have issues down the road if they do not adjust well after the divorce. Most children have the ability to adjust to the divorce as time goes on, but others may not have a smooth or easy transition to the separation. Many different factors contribute to the adjustment of the children. For instance, the personality of the parents and the amount of exposure to parental conflict the child has been involved in. According to Broderick and Blewitt, “conflict, whether before or after the divorce, in which the children are ‘caught in the middle’ because their parents fight about them, communicate through them, or denigrate each other to the children is especially harmful”. The consequences associated with parental conflict are detrimental to the children. When children are involved in parental conflict, it can cause them to have issues with anger, sadness, fear, and even insecurity (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). Although the parents have a major influence on the child, the temperament and intelligence of the child depict how well the child will handle the divorce. If the child has a higher level of intelligence, they may be able to cope better than a child with a lower level of intelligence. The child with a higher level of intelligence might be able to understand the reasoning behind the divorce, which will help them understand where their parents are coming from. They will also be able to see possible benefits that may arise from the divorce (Weaver & Schofield, 2020). Conversely, if a child has a lower intelligence level, they may not be able to understand why their parents are getting a divorce, and this can cause them to have issues coping with the divorce. This topic is very important to the field of human development because there are many people that have been through a divorce and there are many children who have divorced parents. It is important for a Human Services professional to know what to look for in a child who is having developmental issues and has divorced parents. There are many different factors of the divorce that can contribute to developmental issues and it is crucial, as a professional, to know what to look for in order to help them.
Broderick, P. C., and Blewitt, P. (2020). The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (5th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.
Kennedy, S., & Ruggles, S. (2014). Breaking Up Is Hard to Count: The Rise of Divorce in the United States, 1980–2010. Demography, 51(2), 587-598. doi: 10.1007/s13524-013-0270-9
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