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The Effets of Divorce on Children

17 Jul 2017Essay Samples

Introduction: Definition of divorce and negligence of parents towards their children during divorce. Impact of divorce on children: Whenever a couple wants to terminate their marriage, the welfare of their children should take the first priority bearing in mind that it’s their children who suffers most. Children experience a deep seated trauma during and years after divorce. This part of the paper shows how divorce cases can affect the normal life of children after divorce and after the parents’ remarriage. Conclusion Steps that can be taken to mitigate trauma in children during and after divorce; the measures includes the following; support of the children and parents, chidren being allowed to communicate openly and honesty of the parents.


Not at all that all relationship lasts forever. There are those which last and those which are short lived. Marriage cannot be excluded from the dramas and problems associated with break ups. The subject of divorce is meant to come in when the couples finally calls it quit. When a couple has an agreement to pursue a divorce, their decision is based on emotions and not rational thinking. They don’t consider the effects of their decision to the children. Couples who don’t have children are lucky because divorce is easier for them (Krohn, pp78)

Impacts of Divorce on Children

Apart from the haggles with the lawyers and the process of surviving emotional stress, couples with children should take into consideration the welfare of their children. The truth is that children should be the first priority parents should consider when they want to end their marriage. Many of the parents who tend to have divorce fail to ask their kids how they feel about it. They fail to see the emotional abuse of their children through the whole process of divorce. Separation which is a start of new life should make parents to adopt the responsibilities which include protection of the kids from negative effects of the divorce (Krohn, pp79).

If children are young, then understanding and accepting of the situation can be a lot easier. If teenagers, the parents have to deal with a more serious issue. The teens may feel disgraced of how their peers may react towards their family and may be also unsure of what may be in store for their future. Children will always feel torn between their parents. The divorced couple does not see this trauma on their children; they just get obsessed with who spend a lot of time with their children. The parents will get guilty to choose between the children they both loved and respected. Pre-school children will find it difficult to coupe with divorce due to their greater fear and their little coping skills. They need a custodian parent who is stabile and engaged. Young parents will often regress their behaviors and boys will mostly become incompetent bullies’ tending to be aggressive with their peers and get what they want through breaking down in tears. Generally, young boys have greater difficulties to adjust to divorce compared to girls (Krohn, pp78). Further, it appears difficult for mothers to manage boys who are responding poorly to divorce. Mothers are depleted during the first couple of years by the effort needed so as to become an effective displinarian. A dozen of factors will lead to this, one being the mother can see the child/son being just like the father. To the child, he has lost substantial great time with just the same sex parent and this then creates a greater sense of loss. This is usually very common with boys who miss the physical father relationship. The roles of the father is pivoted and complex. They get marginalized post-divorce. They tend to have minimal time they spend with their children. Because most men know this, they are often against divorce since that will mean living the family home and at the same time loss contact with their children. The fact that the male intimacy is action –oriented i.e. doing things together other than talking about things further complicates the problem (Simons, pp 46).

Due to the little time fathers spend with their children, fathers focus on being pals and become lesser displinarian and don’t have enough time to do school work with their children. These fathers tend to become more resentful of their children activities and the increasing social needs as they get older. More complications set in when a man move towards remarriage and have to make difficult decisions for their own children and significant others. An important factor contributing to children poor adjustment to divorce is the parentification. This is the situation where they are asked to take too much responsibility like when the parent turn the kid into a confidant or needs too much support from the kid (Simons, pp 49).

The importance of the mother- depletion should be considered by divorcing couples through the joint physical custody if it is a possibility. This will then reduce the hostility to overcome and parenting can be more shared. Sibling conflict is common among boys and this can partly reflect the better rational skills among the girls, while boys get immersed in socially reinforced behaviors of go it alone. Boys have less access to the father and don’t have the ability to share issues with mothers. This makes the mother and the son to end up, competing with each other for the available parenting resources. Mothers can increasingly become more frustrated which makes the maternal resources to become less available (Sinberg and Gray, pp114).

With adolescents, research has shown that girls from divorced families will experience early-onset puberty and that can even be more with the re-married families compared with girls from the married families(Simons, pp 49). The hypothesis states that, girls exposed to hostile environments get the capacity to reproduce sooner for the purpose of continuation of the species. With the remarried families, when a strange male gets introduced to the girls’ family, it tends to trigger early onset of puberty. As the child continues to grow, most of the young adult children reports lack of connection to their fathers to begin with this from the time when fathers were not involved.

Divorces will not appear to have a lot of consistent effects among all children of all ages. Older children are more pervasive to family conflicts and will get more pressure to intervene and this then increases their risk problems. At the same time, they have more emotional support or resources that can help them cope and this can decrease their risks. Younger children will have less ability to sense and to intervene so as to quell the arguments. This can probably lead to less risk, but they are equipped with less cognitive resources possibly exposing them to higher risks.

Children aged about four years are likely to blame themselves as a result of the divorce; also they have a lot of fear of abandonment. They get confused and will always fantasize about reconciliation. Later after ten years, they have fewer memories of their own or their parents’ earlier conflicts. Children of about 10years will express feelings of sadness and anger. They have divided loyalties. The children have also some difficulties with adapting step parenting and remarriage.

An important thing to understand about how children adjust to divorce is the parental conflict. Children will always need co-parenting, meaning that parents must co-operate so that they meet their children’s needs (Sinberg and Gray, pp118). To fight and argue in front of children can further exacerbate the problem e.g. criticizing the absent parent or giving a damning comment. If parents show better emotional adjustment after divorce, children will behave the same. Parents are responsible for the maintenance of the consistent structure in their children’s lives, resentments and confusion. If parents are able to argue over a child’s rearing issue and get to an agreement, children shows less anxiety and distress (Harvey and Mark, pp 46).

The attachment between the custodian and the non-custodial parent and kid suffer as a result of the emotional negativity, rejection, inconsistent structure within and across homes and that can often occur soon after divorce. We have several attachments and with these, children show fewer adjustment problems.

Secondly, insecure avoidant attachment children become anxious, angry and clinging to their parent. These children would typically have come from families where adults were also insecurely attached to their families and thus unable to provide a kind of constituency and care which can be offered by securely attached parents (Harvey and Mark, pp 46).

The third is ambivalent attachment where children are raised by disorganized and inattentive parenting. The parents are not able to provide psychological strength for them, and as a result, the children are more prone to distress along with suffering from mood swings and are oversensitive to stress.

Some things can be done so as to reduce the traumatic effects of divorce on children. Trauma is determined by the child’s experience and not by the event itself. Different children in the same family can have different emotional reactions to the multi-changes which are related to divorce. The parents’ attitude is going to shape the children’s attitude (Grollman, pp 29).

The words and actions of the parents can expose children to unnecessary emotional pain or rather help them develop positive ways. The trauma causes depression and anxiety during the time of separation or many years after divorce. Recurrence can be experienced during birthdays, weekends and holidays when the family misses the complete family unit (Wallerstein and Blakeslee, pp 40).


Some steps can be taken so as to reduce traumatic effects during and after the divorce. Such measures include the following; the parent should be honest about the potential trauma each of the kids can experience. Some children may respond by withdrawing emotionally and hence may be more upset and may need a lot of attention (Clarke-Stewart and Brentano, pp 52).

The children should be allowed to communicate openly. They should be given a chance to give a child’s description of their feelings and also express fear and anger they may be experiencing. Whenever possible, children should be offered choices so as to increase the choice of power over their lives. Such choices includes; food choices, clothing choices or any other choice that don’t contribute their routines (Clarke-Stewart and Brentano, pp 60).

A support for the children and the parent is also vital. The parent should reach out and ask for help from family members, friends, and religious and several groups as well as counselors and therapists. Continuity should also be provided for the children. This is provided by a certain structure leisure and work times. The parent should also have an understanding of the children’s reactions to divorce. Some parents think that because they have feelings of doubt, anger and grief, their children have the same which may not be the case. The children have different relationships and experiences and their feelings towards the other parent may be different from that of yours (Grollman, pp 30).

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Clarke-Stewart, Alison and Cornelia Brentano: Divorce: Causes and Consequences; ISBN 0300125933, Yale University, 2006.

Grollman, A. Earl: Explaining Divorce to Children; ISBN 0807023876, Beacon Press, 1969.

Harvey, H. John and Mark A. Fine: Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth; ISBN 0805846697, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Krohn, E. Kathelene: You and Your Parents' Divorce; ISBN 0823933547, Rosen Publishing Group, 2001.

Simons, L. Ronald and L. Simons: Understanding Differences between Divorced and Intact Families; ISBN 0803951612, Sage Publications, 1996.

Sinberg, Janet and Nancy Gray: Divorce is a Grown up Problem: a Book about Divorce for Young Children and Their Parents; ISBN 0380019019, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1978.

Wallerstein S. Judith and Sandra Blakeslee. What about the Kids? Raising Your Children Before, During, and After Divorce; ISBN 0786868651, Hyperion, 2003.

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