Parental divorce has a substantial effect on children which can be long-term or short term. Long term effects can range from long-term financial difficulties, psychological, mental, physical and also social problems. This could be as a result of lack of both emotional and social support that is derived from stable families. Divorce entails separation of parents leaving the family broken, a situation that denies the children a safe and steady informal environment for learning. It also minimizes the ability of parents to guard their children against negative influences from the surrounding environment.
However, there are some cases where divorce brings about short term relieve to children especially where violence that is directed to children and a parent is involved. Although this may reduce short-term physical together with psychological effects, long-tem effects are bound to occur (Amato, 2000). Financial effects: this arises due to the break up of the family’s financial structure forcing each of the parents to rely on their personal incomes for survival unlike previously when they could pool their incomes together.
Since the success of children relies on both financial and social support from parents, children who are brought up in a family with two parents are likely to have high achievements compared to those with one because of the presence of both parents who could offer complementary resources when needed. Each of the divorced parents will be forced to use available resources in trying to set up a new home at the expense of the children’s needs of quality education and better health services.
In some cases where fathers start new families, the possibility of children being affected financially rises because the father could end up spending less on them (Cherlin, Kiernan & Chase-Lansdale, 1995). Social impact: the social impact of divorce on children has been found to be massive. Children whose parents divorce during their formative years have been found to be greatly affected compared to those who their parents divorce at a later date. These children become prone to divorce in their later lives.
This is so because, during formative years, children require both parents for effective development of skills and values that are necessary in development of stable relationships in future. It is evident in men who grow with single mothers who tend to behave in a deviant way with violent natures who eventually end up being involved in criminal activities (Amato, 2001). Because the children are not able take sides during divorce, they feel as if they are the cause of the divorce.
As a result, they may end up getting depressed and eventually becoming suicidal. Their personality and sense of confidence is affected by the regular arguments and fights that their parents may have had. Eventually, after divorce if proper measures such as counseling are not taken, they may become emotionally destabilized which may lead to drug abuse and suicide (D’Onofrio et al, 2003). When the non custodian parent moves far away from the other and does not communicate frequently or in totality to the children, they may feel a sense of loose of a parent.
Girls get affected by their father’s absence whereby they may become emotionally withdrawn from both boys and men during growth and later on in life. Divorce cases tend to affect boys more than girls. Boys tend to show signs of violent and criminal behaviors while girls become neurotic depressive which mostly depends on their mother’s behavior. They carry these behaviors to their relationships in future which explain why most marriages of such children do not last (Furstenberg & Teitler, 1994).
According to Cherlin, Chase-Lansdale & McRae (1998), divorce may cause long term mental disorders for children between the age bracket 0 and 4. This is so because of lack of care that is essential for full development of the child. An example is when the father is given custody of the child, the child misses an opportunity to breast feed and receive post-natal care which may lead to mental defects later on in life. This affects their ability to perform in sports and school activities (D’Onofrio et al, 2005).
To enhance adjustment of the child to the situation, it is recommended that: parents should discuss the impending divorce to ensure that its done at a level where it will not have a great effect to the child, they should be able to answer any question that the child could be having about the situation, the child should be assured that it was not by his/her fault that they separated, the child should be assured that both parents will continue loving him/her, the child’s needs should be the parents’ priority, the parent in custody of the child should not expect his/her emotional needs to be met by the child, parenting should continue as usual, continued visitation of the child by the other parent who doesn’t have custody of the child should be ensured, parents should avoid being critical of the other and avoid interrogating the child about visits made by the other parent (Caspi et al, 2004).
In conclusion, the effects of divorce to children are damaging to the child’s development leading to both physical and psychological disorders. This affects the child’s ability to develop social skills which are important in developing stable relationships later on in life. It also affects both financial and social well being of the children involved. The effects can be controlled through ensuring that the affected children are surrounded by an enabling environment which will help them acquire the required social, emotional and financial support. This will help reduce the long-term effects that result from such cases.
Other ways that could be considered in trying to reduce these long term effects include looking for a step family or introduction of special mentorship programs in schools. Because of the effects involved, there is need for child mental health specialists who are familiar with the wide range of complications that divorce may have on the child so that they can help reduce if not prevent the effects. References Amato, P. R. (2000). The consequences of divorce for adults and children: Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1269–1287. Amato, P. R. (2001). Children of divorce in the 1990s: An update of the Amato and Keith (1991) meta-analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 15, 355–370. Caspi, A. , Moffitt, T. E. , Morgan, J. , Rutter, M. , Taylor, A. , Arseneault, L. , et al. (2004).
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