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What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children?

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What are the effects of divorce on children?

“The divorce rate among couples as of May 2005 has now come to about 38 percent.” (National Center for Health Statistics) This number, while seeming low does not accurately portray the situation. Each marriage involves two people, so when doubled the number is a more accurate 76 percent of the population in the United States that have been divorced in their life, not to mention the children that are also involved in the process. Divorce, while lengthy and sometimes hurtful, can be beneficial to the children and spouses. Children coming from situations of abuse and neglect actually benefit from the separation of parents. These parents may remain single or remarry, still studies have shown that the children have and are thriving in a way they were unable to before the separation. While there are exceptions to every rule, the divorce has become a positive alternative in some families.

Children coming from homes where violence and abuse is an ordinary occurrence, are not only victims in their childhood, but are continually affected as adults. According to the Traumatogentic model, proposed by Dr. Finkelor (1987), the abused child produces a number of different psychological effects and long term behavioral changes. Leaving a child in such a situation would not only cause continual physical harm, but also the long term psychological problems. In such cases divorce is encouraged for the benefit of both the spouse being abused and the child involved. After divorce children have been shown to thrive in the new, abuse-free environment; showing improvements in their education, attitude, and overall social development.

Another factor of positive divorce is the presence of neglect in the household. Accumulating information from the Attachment Theory proposed by John Bowlby in 1980, researchers have compiled evidence of the side effects of the lack of a secure attachment to caregivers at an early age. Because of rejection and inconsistent attention, among other forms of neglect, these children have “developed anxious, insecure or disorganized/disoriented attachments with their primary care providers” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). With two parents this neglect from one or both can turn to a feeling of hatred for one or both parents from the child. “This lack of secure attachment relationship then hinders the infant's or toddler's ability to explore his/her environment and develop feelings of competence” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Divorce here is an apparent necessity to the children involved. Based on the long term effects of neglect from numerous studies, children are better with one parent that cares for them or a non-biological parent than two that do not accurately care for the child’s needs.

“While being exposed to the process of divorce, children have become aware that struggle is a normal part of marriage and have been able to use their parents as examples. In a study done by “Psychology Today”, twenty-eight college students were interviewed to see how their parents divorce influenced their own current and past relationships. The group was divided into three different groups according to their responses. The first group were named the “Modelers”. This group mimicked their parents relationship, continuing to be dysfunctional. The second group were the “Strugglers”, this group showed a cautiousness in trusting others and hesitancy in opening up to others. The third were the “Reconcilers”. These students strove to learn from their parents mistakes and the problems they witnessed, to create more successful relationships in their own lives. The group that the students fell into also had to do with the type of relationship they had with their parents before the breakup and after. It was found that the “modeler” group had “limited insight” to the problems that their parents were going through. The “strugglers” lost touch

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