As Ahrons and Rodgers (1987) point out "[W]hile marriages may be discontinued, families-especially those in which there are children -continue after marital disruption...They do so with the focus on the two ex-spouse parents now located in separate households-two nuclei to which children and parents alike, as well as others, must relate." Ahrons coined the term "binuclear family" to describe this modal form of postdivorce family structure.
Even though this review has shown that children from divorced families are not overwhelming worse off psychologically, anyone who has a conversation with a child or young adult whose parents have divorced will tell you that these young people still seem to experience considerable distress about the breakup of their families and that these feelings linger. Some new work with these children indicates that while children may not be significantly impaired as a result of the divorce, they do carry painful memories. Laumann-Billings and Emery (2000) report that young adults in the early 20s who experienced the divorce of their parents still report pain and distress over their parents’ divorces ten years later. Feelings of loss about the relationship with their fathers was the most common report. Those young people who reported high conflict between their parents were even more likely to have feelings of loss and regret.
There is also some evidence that young adults whose parents divorce feel as if they had little control over their lives following divorce including the transitions between households. Less than 20% of children report that both of their parents talked to them about the impending divorce and only 5% say that their parents tried to explain why the divorce was occurring and were given a chance to ask questions (Dunn et al., 2001). Children report more positive feelings and less painful memories of household transitions when they were given some chance to voice their ideas about visiting or living arrangements (Dunn et al., 2001).
These continuing painful memories and feelings of helplessness help us to further understand the experience of children following divorce and provides some useful ideas about ways to reduce these painful situations.
The overall results of these studies suggest that while children from divorced families may, on average, experience more major psychological and behavioral problems than children in intact families, there are more similarities than differences. The most important question is not whether children from divorced families are having difficulties, but what particular factors cause these differences. Current evidence suggests that the loss of contact with parents, economic difficulties, stress, parental adjustment and competence, and interparental conflict all contribute at least to some degree to the difficulties of children. Some new findings shift our attention from major problems to milder but important long-term painful memories and feelings of helplessness. These feelings can continue well into young adulthood which reminds us that there are many things we can do to help children. These results provide significant implications to practitioners interested in designing interventions for children and adults in divorcing families.
These attitudinal differences among children of divorced parents are noticeable even as early as kindergarten. Children from divorced families are more tolerant of divorce than are children from intact families, though this is only likely if their parents had remarried. Without remarriage, the effect on their views of divorce was not significant. The mothers’ accepting attitudes toward divorce cause more children to be accepting of divorce themselves. These positive attitudes towards divorce affect not only likelihood of divorce, but also overall relationship quality.
Often, children initially focus on these immediate negative effects of the family breaking up, and do not find comfort in knowing that other families that have divorced eventually do okay.
Adjustment to divorce can take up to two years or even longer.
According to a psychological assessment of the children of divorced parents, most subjects stated that although it had been extremely agonizing, the divorce only made them emotionally stronger once they got out of the trauma.
Ultimately, divorces are an emotionally painful experience for all those involved, especially children.
Effects of Divorce on the Family
A divorce comes with stress.
The Effects of Divorce on Children Divorce is a process that many people in America go through. The divorce rate continues to escalate over the years. Divorce
Andersen had long taught courses in personal finance and, as the child of divorce himself, liked the idea that improving people's money skills could help their marriages....
Free Essay: Another example of a fear that they might have to deal with is a fear of abandonment. In the process of divorce children feel as if they are
Other factors such as the child's age, gender and temperament will also influence how well the child adjusts.
A preschooler's reaction to and ability to understand their parents' divorce will be very different from that of an adolescent.
Compared with children of always-married parents, children of divorced parents have more positive attitudes towards divorce and less favorable attitudes towards marriage. Specifically, “adolescents who have experienced their parents’ divorces and remarriages may feel that marriage is unpredictable and unstable.” are less likely than those from intact families to believe that marriage is enduring and permanent, are less likely to insist upon a lifelong marital commitment, and are less likely to think positively of themselves as parents. Parental breakup also increases children’s acceptance of cohabitation, at least until adulthood. However, can reduce this effect.
Until a divorce is finalized and even thereafter, the spouses get entangled in clashes over the division of valuables and everything else owned or a part of the family which is witnessed and suffered by their children.
Awareness and sensitivity to the developmental differences in children's reaction to divorce can provide parents with insight in how to talk to their children to help in their adjustment.
Because of their limited cognitive abilities, preschoolers are often baffled by their parents divorce.
Leila Miller: I have a good friend, Alishia Hanson (I dedicated the book to her), who would mention things in the course of normal conversations that got my attention. These things were experiences she had as the child of divorce—a divorce which had occurred decades earlier, but which seemed to still affect her in profound ways. What she was telling me was something entirely new to me, even though I have been around children of divorce all my life, as we all have. I started to ask her more questions about the divorce and how it was affecting her life even today. Though she is now a wife and mother of six, the complications and pain from her parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriages are still haunting her life, although manifesting in different ways. Looking back, I realize that I had been completely ignorant of the actual effects of divorce on the children, many long years past the divorce itself. I knew something had to be written, and since Alishia didn’t have the energy to do it, I decided I would.