divorce and its effects on children

Essay by TEE25A+, March 2003

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After long consideration, also taking your advice about a topic, I chose Divorce and its Effects on Children. I explored divorce and it effects on children using the findings of three studies; Karl Zinsmeister (1996), Michael E. Lamb and Kathleen J. Sternberg (1997), Ensign, Scherman, and Clark (1998) and statistical information was taken from a study done by Kitson and Sussman (1988). I also searched Proquest, a program offered to us complimentary of the school, and came up with a 9 year old article in USA Today, "Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Kids", (May, 1996). What do I expect to gain by comparing these studies? Since these three studies and the article were written by different people and researched at different times, I am looking for what they found to be the common denominator about the "growing divorce rate and the long and short term effects that it has on the children".

To me it seems as if the nuclear family is becoming extinct. According to Ensign, Scherman, and Clark (1998) the American family life today is a far cry from what it was even 30 years ago. The number of single-parent families has increased substantially and about one million children are affected by divorce. However, if this type of trend continues, more than half of all American children will spend some part of their childhood in a single-parent household before their 18th birthday. Since most divorced mothers and fathers remarry, many children will experience a series of marital transitions, from intact-family to single-parent family to stepfamily relationships.

In my research I learnt that a divorce is not an event for a child but rather a process that unfolds over many years. Divorce itself brings many changes. The child's world is torn asunder, and the child's entire lifestyle will...