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The Effects of Divorce on Children


Divorce issue has hit a large number of countries, and the rate of marriage families that end in divorce has also increased. However, the saddest thing majority of the parents have not realized when filling divorces are the dire consequences and impacts the act will have on their children. As defined by Oxford dictionary, divorce is referred to as a legal dissolution of marriage. There are various significant impacts that divorce has on children of different age groups. A number of the most common consequences of divorce that can be mentioned include the scenario where the majority of the children start to blame themselves for the act of divorce. They usually experience a feeling of uncertainty about the nature of life that were previously concrete. To some extent, they develop certain behavioral issues.

Indeed, children do depend on their parents for a number of factors, which include; for comfort belonging, all kinds of support, strength or even stability. Whenever the parents within the family of children of any age decides to get divorced, there is always a big question that surrounds the act as to whether what is forever and the things that will be held subject to changes. Even though a number of people in the recent days have made their ways right through divorce, there are incidences where many children have suffered from the dire consequences of divorce in their lives especially on their mind as well as the emotions.

An impact that divorce has caused to children is the element of children feeling that it is their fault that led to the separation of their parents. It is true that many children do take full responsibility and to be accountable for the act internally regardless how many times parents would take to explain the unfolded scenes that lead to their divorce. The fear does arise to children where they make an assumption that it could be out of their misbehavior or maybe they were bad at some point. This may be associated with the fact that most parents used to correlate the bad behavior with consequences when raising their children. The children, therefore, will relate the effects with the dangerous behaviors.

Divorce has become one of the challenging as well as a confusing event for every individual whose is involved. Immediately parents get divorced, their children do feel unsure about certain elements in their lives that they have never questioned before. Consequently, children may act out in a negative behavior as a result of their feelings or anger, sadness or the disappointment they get. A divorce has never been a significant issue whenever there are no children. However, when children are involved, the divorce that their parents get into may have major effects on their lives (Joanne, Louise and Liz 183).

The effects of divorce on the children are influenced by the age. If a child is younger, for example, the divorce of their parents will affect him or her more than a child who is in preteens to the age of teenage years. For young children who caught up within the scenario may experience a feeling of choosing a side or rather to be the root cause of their parents getting divorced as mentioned earlier. It is, therefore, very vital to understand in depth the various ways in which divorce may affect children of a given family in the society.

As divorce becomes an intense experience for both children as well as parents, it can often lead to poor or lack of parenting skills that will eventually affect children for their future lives. Indeed, children should not develop a feeling of taking side with the parents but rather feel close with both the parents and as well develop a tight and strong relationship with both the parents. Nevertheless, there are certain incidents where children may feel to choose a side to cling on though as Elizabeth and Raelynn (1235) states, “it is important to improve parenting post-divorce by enhancing interpersonal and emotional connections in a parent-child relationship.” An initiative has been made through the Mindful Parenting Program, which is designed to assist both the parents and their children interact and connect.

Helping Children involved in a Divorce in schools

The occurrence of divorce is uncertain as it can happen at any time. The divorces that frequently occur are not only experienced during summer, a time when children are out of school. Children at a tender age are usually prone to have a greater effect of their parents’ divorce. The United States Census Bureau conducted in the year 2000 shows that every year, more than one million children do experience parental divorce. Consequently, Connolly and Green (3) in their article states that by age 18, to approximate of 40% of the total percentage of children experienced divorce cases. Their empirical research clearly shows that children whose parents get divorced are experiencing an increased rate of the development of psychological, social, behavioral as well as academic related problems.

Children do spend much time in school, approximately eight (8) hours in a day for five days a week, nine months of a year. It is, therefore, important that teachers and other expert counselors to identify the affected children who are going through the scene and develop techniques of helping them after they have understood how they are acting towards the act. Such children might feel being abandoned and loose the close bond that is created between parents and children thus may lead to reactions and actions that are never intended to happen. The school, therefore, becomes a familiar setting for children and can provide the affected children with the natural support network of teachers as well as classmates (Connolly and Green 11).

The school setup should offer children experiencing divorce within their families with learning and social environment that is conducive where the victims would feel comfortable to interact freely with their teachers, as well as counselors. However, teachers have rated children from the divorced families higher on certain factors such as the inability to reflect, heightened anxiety surrounding academic failure, inattention as well as irrelevant talk. Such children generally attend less school, do less or never do homework but take more time watching television and have a less parental guide in completing schoolwork assignments. This is the time teachers and school counselors should put more efforts to help children cope with their feelings and adjust living with the divorce as they maintain a ladder of high school performance on their grades.

The evidence-based practice which should be adopted by teachers and counselors is a movement that is within the line of psychology and education purely to identify the problem, disseminate and to promote the use of practices with the demonstrated empirical support to the affected children. The practice, therefore, requires professionals equipped with the knowledge to learn about the students and the interventions and hope to do an evaluation of the state and find better solutions. A child should be ready to develop a trusted relationship with the school counselors and freely speak of what they feel about their parent’s divorce and know that they will never be judged or scared based on their status.

An Overview of the effects on both parents versus single-parent

            Whenever families breakup, issues on who should have the primary custody of the children and who to be seeing children have emerged. A number of the divorce that has occurred has become very nasty based on the severe consequences or the effects they pose to the children. Indeed, the parents have not to the realization that they don’t hurt themselves but rather hurting their children. As Brown (44-45) denotes, the legal disputes that typically occur over child’s wellbeing usually cause high impacts on children lives. One party may feel that the other parent should have no attachment with the kid, demanding to make an oath to sign their rights away and become a distant memory.

            There has been a debate that questions whether children that remain closer and contact with the non-resident parent especially typical fathers is associated with positive outcome for the children. However, the findings indicate that the children who retain close ties with non-resident fathers who offer full support to a child usually do better (Joanne, Louise and Liz 181). The bond between a child and the parents should be kept intact even if they do not see one another on a daily basis. The relationship can only be achieved when both parents have a strong bond with each other rather than conflicting issues. However, even if conflicts may arise as well as hard feeling to both parents, they should never show it to the child for his or her benefit since all the suffering is felt by the affected child.

            In cases where the reporting parent is less strain and has fewer concerns about the parenting capacity of the other parent, it is evident that a child may adjust positively. The key focus of a post-divorce scenario should be built on maintaining the feelings of a child and the basic needs he or she may require in life. The child adjustment measure preferred as SDQ should form the basic as it forms a 25 item scale with five sub-scales. These include; the emotional symptoms, problems associated with the conducts, the peer problems, and pro-social behavior. The sub-scales reflect higher problems that relate to actions. The children who are victimized from divorce should never take side with their parents but rather present their problems based on their feelings on the state. If both parents develop a strong bond with their children, then the kids will be at ease to adapt or cope with the divorce and move on with life in a normal way.   

                        A similar suggestion on the study made by Divorce Adjustment Inventory-Revised (DAI-R) that measure a child’s adjustment before and after divorce indicates both what parents see and feel from the child as well as the feelings of a child. It is clearly indicated that a strong parent-child relationship that bonds both parents is most effective to help the child curb the situation as opposed to vice versa (Brown, Saylor and Sekhon 64). Bonnie and Mackey (139) also suggest that some parts of the United States, the fathers are regarded as optional, while other areas they are seen to be an essential part of the development of their children.

             It is also evident that the biological and the residential social fathers are regarded to have improved their children’s chances of completing high schools. If there is a bond in both parents, definitely a child will develop a strong bond even if both parents are not living together as a family. If efforts are made by both parents towards helping the child, a child will eventually feel a sense of belonging thus motivates him or her towards achieving the set goals in life. However, even though emphasis is made that fathers’ assistance do help their children to accomplish their goals, the initiative made by both parent serves best rather than single parent. Children who receive full support from both parents build their emotions as well as mental and bring the child more closely to the parents and would recover from the divorce.

            Ford and Kickham (848) points out that divorce usually cause majority of children to miss out parental roles that usually forms the basic ground as role model, parents proving their children with full support in all kind as well as correcting children whenever they go wrong in life. Most cases, fathers are always left within that margin thus the incident can make a child feel unimportant and deserted. It is also evident that girls and boys have their own ways of expressing their emotions toward divorce. The statistics shows that the male individuals tend to be more violent as well as rebellious while on the other hand, the female individuals tend to be more sexually active at a tender age as compared to those who are raised in intact families.

            Consequently, children of divorce usually develop a negative perception on their own future marriage based on the past divorce experience of their parents. Children go an extent of losing marital trust in their spouse, thus make them feel demoralized with marriage. They do lose trust in their spouse based on the dishonesty seen with parents in their marriage. Such children have no ideas on what build up a good family and thus whenever they are faced with any challenge; they will be prone to make quick solutions that can ruin their marriage and ends up in divorce too (Weissbourd 27).

            The Catholic Church also has set strict guidelines on divorce. The doctrine of the church considers marriage bond as a sacred bond, which should be based on life-long love, fidelity as well as family. It is a bond on earth and a spiritual bond that only God binds, and it should not be broken using any temporal laws. Based on the faith, individuals who divorce are free to receive the sacraments unless one is remarried without the Decree of Invalidity that is, when the former spouse is still alive, there are related issues and are not allowed to receive the Holy Communion too as the act is not accepted within the Christian doctrine.

            With the above-mentioned stand, the Catholic Church does not permit divorce for valid marriages bound within the church. Indeed, any valid sacramental marriage is impossible to dissolve thus making divorce not to be accepted within a church setup. The Christian reference point, which is Bible, states that the two become one flesh in a union that is joined by God (Mark 10:8) as Christ make an illustration about divorce in church setup quoting “Therefore what God has joined, no one can separate” (Mark 10:9). Marriage, therefore, that meets the requirement of sacrament, the Catholic Church states that divorce is not possible.

            However, whenever an individual wants to terminate the marriage, the Catholic will never be accounted within the annulment process and held responsibly. The Church affirms that marriage directly parallels our relationship with God as He is always faithful to uphold His relationship with us thus individuals who get into marriage tie are, therefore, called to hold unto faithfulness that He has for us.


            A number of people may affirm that divorce is usually different, and every child who is affected may act differently too. Even if children who are affected might not show that they are distress, their disgrace is always felt by themselves as none of them would long to experience the pain and suffering that result from divorce. The society has encountered dire consequences that happen as a result of divorce. It is, therefore, high time each an individual’s divorced people to take an initiative to understand the feelings their children and help them build a healthy parent-child relationship for children to have a better future life that can be admirable by others. When proper guidance, as well as counsel, is not done, the majority of them may lead from the examples they face in their lives. An understanding is, therefore, forms the key role that the society should focus on in order to help children involved in a divorce to grow up with a positive mind of making a change in life. The young age children of about five to seven years are usually confused and are significantly affected by their parents’ separation (divorce). Most cases, they do fear that they may be abandoned by their parents, and this cause a great anxiety to them. The separation of such children seems to be so dire as there are feelings attached to the act that their needs would not be met as personal bond wound not be met too.

The parents should also take the initiative to instill change for the sake of their children. The effects of divorce may not be experienced when both parents react positively after divorce. The society should never portray to the public that children of divorce are likely to experience problems based on the feeling they do develop that makes them uncomfortable. Indeed a number of them aged eighteen to thirty-five years, a quarter of the total have managed to overcome their divorce state and pass through learning institutions successful and become great people in the society. The victim children can emerge to be successful based on the lessons they learned from the divorce and the close bond that their parents may have even after their divorce. It is through the child that the two parents are bonded; therefore, they should work ways of ensuring that the needs of their children are met.

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