Effects of Divorce on Children

Essay by encino5000College, UndergraduateA+, March 2006

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One out of every two marriages today end in divorce and many divorcing families include children. Parents who are going through divorce often believe it is in the best interest of the children to shield them from the stress of the situation. Regardless of the parents' good intentions, children often find themselves caught in an emotional whirlpool during these times. Divorce has many long term and short term effects on children. One major effect on children is emotional stress. This stress can harm future relationships, cause behavioral problems, and influence whether or not the child decides to further their education. Divorce can be a very frightening time for the children as they try to make sense of what is happening in the adult world.

Emotional stress caused by divorce can hinder the child's future relationships. This stress can bring on anxiety and fear that he/she will repeat the failed marital or love relationship.

This is most common in young adult women when making major life decisions, such as marriage. Many children may also avoid commitment so that they do not have to worry about rejection. If the parents remarry, this stress can affect the child's relationship with their step-parents.

Divorce can also affect the children's behavior causing them to act out. This acting out behavior ranges from very mild behavior, such as difficulty sleeping, to extremely destructive behavior, such as suicide, drug abuse, or violence. Other behavior may include problems in school, nervous habits, repetitive physical behavior, and regressive behavior, such as bed-wetting, fears, and use of comfort items. Children may become clingy and whiny and they may need a greater understanding of their moods and behavior. They might also think they need to "take care" of their emotional parents. Giving up one's childhood to care for emotionally troubled...