Effects of Divorce on Children

Effects of Divorce on Children - Divorce Facts and Effects...

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Unformatted text preview: Divorce Facts and Effects on Children Divorce Studies Cautions The divorce statistics can be deceiving; you need to know what kind of a study you are consulting. The best numbers come out of longitudinal studies that follow the same couples. Some studies arrive at numbers based on total marriages and total divorces; it is difficult to draw conclusions from totals in regard to rates. Divorce Statistics There are approximately 1,000,000 divorces a year and 2.3 million marriages a year. Rates of first marriages that will end by: 5th year of marriage approx. 10% 10th year of marriage approx. 20% 18th year of marriage approx. 30% 50th year of marriage approx. 40% Divorce Statistics continued The divorce rate has risen approximately 40% since 1970 The average length of a first marriage for those that have divorced is 7.8 years The average length of time between divorce and remarriage for those that remarry is 3.2 years. The average duration of the second marriage for those that ended in divorce is 7.3 years for men and 6.8 years for women. National Divorce Rates (per 1000 population) Brazil Italy Ireland Mexico Japan Syria Greece China Finland Canada Australia Sweden United Kingdom Russia United States 0.26 0.27 0.27 0.33 0.62 0.65 0.76 0.79 1.86 2.46 2.52 2.79 3.08 3.36 4.95 Factors for Divorce Factors Percent Decrease in Risk of Divorce Annual income over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -30 Having a baby seven months or more after marriage (vs. before marriage) . . . . . . . . . . -24 Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) . . . . . . . . . . -24 Own family of origin intact (vs. divorced parents) . . . . . . . -14 Religious affiliation (vs. none) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -14 Some college (vs. high-school dropout) . . . . . . . . . . . . . -13 Effects on Children One opinion is that divorce is a significant negative factor in the emotional and social development of children. A differing opinion is that the effects of divorce on children are overstated. View 1: minimal effect Ten-year, longitudinal study of about 600 families conducted by Iowa State University, funded by NIMH. "What is essential for kids is that they be parented well. If mom and dad continue to persevere in their parenting, are warm and supportive, monitor the kids and are consistent in discipline, the risk for conduct problems is no greater than in two-parent families. This is a more optimistic scenario than is often asserted." http://extension.missouri.edu/cooper/fok/children's_adjustm Iowa State findings Divorce doubles the risk for emotional problems, but those with problems are still a minority. In all family structures, girls have greater risk for depression and boys for behavioral problems; however, divorce increases boys' risk for depression even when parents remain involved and supportive. Findings continued Greater problem than the divorce is the adversely effected parenting that results. Greater financial and emotional strain on custodial parent (mother) and more likelihood for depression. Non-resident parents (fathers) take on more of a buddy role. Custodial parent had larger impact. View 2: significant effects David Popenoe on myth's about divorce The "myths" represent a summary and compilation of several researchers and studies. The specific sources are available in the online version of the article. http://marriage.rutgers.edu/Publications/pub Myth 1 Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly. Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale, long-term empirical studies, that many of these problems are long lasting. In fact, they may even become worse in adulthood. Myth 2 When parents don't get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together. A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests otherwise. While it found that parents' marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children's well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. . . . Only the children in very high conflict homes benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce--and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type--the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Myth 3 Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes. Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this, according to a recent study, is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined. Myth 4 Following divorce, the children involved are better off in stepfamilies than in singleparent families. The evidence suggests that stepfamilies are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home. Stepfamilies tend to have their own set of problems, including interpersonal conflicts with new parent figures and a very high risk of family breakup. Differing Conclusions Both perspectives agree that good parenting can offset potential harms of divorce. Both perspectives agree that certain risk factors (economic strain, emotional turmoil, conflict, loss of partner) make it difficult for parents to adjust and remain competent in parenting. Differing conclusions result from disagreement about: How realistic it is for the parents to adjust functionally well enough to offset risks. How much parenting can offset certain other factors that may be irreparable for the child. Stress Factors for Divorced Children According to Karen de Bord, the main problems for children of divorce are: Loss of familiarity with family Attachment Abandonment Exposure to hostility from parents Some of these factors may only be minimally repairable even by the best parenting. ...
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