Effects of Divorce on Children Stephene Drouillard

Essay by steffaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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How does divorce effect children in different ages of development? And what are the factors of these effects?

Divorce causes anxiety, stress, and fear in children of all ages. Before discussing specific problems in different age groups, one must first observe the major difficulties that create these problems.

According to a hypothesis derived by Paul Amato (1993), there are six major factors that effect children in a divorced family. The first of course results from the actual loss of one of the parents. Mothers' and Fathers' are important resources for a child's emotional development. In a divorce the child is bound to lose the knowledge and skills from one of the parents because they are no longer living in the household. The critical factor in determining the degree of the "parental loss effect" is relative to whether the contact with the non-custodial parent results in conflict between the parents or not.

The second factor that creates difficulties for children of a broken home is that of an economic nature. In short, children who live in a single parent household usually experience a lower financial way of living.

Stress created from change in a child's living conditions can cause acute problems. Often the result of a divorce can cause environmental changes such as moving into a different neighborhood, changing schools, or having to attend day care. There is also evidence that children who go through more than one divorce are worse off.

Fourthly, the psychological adjustment of parents is significant in a child's well being. Thirteen out of fifteen families studied showed that there was a positive relationship between the mental health of the parents and that of the children. Divorced children fared better if their parents were psychologically adjusted to divorce.

A lack of parental competence in dealing with the...