Divorce in marriages is one of the popular trends that is picking up among couples at a very fast rate and is known to have doubled in a span of less than fifty years, since 1960. It is due to this highly advancing trend that today, family values among children and youth have gone topsy-turvy (Myers, 2000). When a divorce occurs between two people, it is not only the two partners that suffer, but most of all their children, if any. The impact of divorce on children and offspring, male or female is tremendously negative and affects their emotional, spiritual, societal development process, hampering it in more ways than one.
In the article “Effects of divorce on children” by Meera Choudhary (2002), the author aims to explain the negative effects of divorce on the life of children. Choudhary begins by briefly introducing the problems in modern marriages due to the changing lifestyles and stress in the lives of couples. The article clearly elucidates the ill effects of divorce on the teenage and adult children, due to the sudden separation from either parent.
The author endorses the fact by statistical data to support her view that children undergo a series of psychological and behavioral problems following the divorce of their parents. The author concludes by stating that when marriages break, parents are unable to pay attention to the psychological needs of their children, due the trauma and disturbance they undergo from the separation and the consequences occurring due to this. Choudhary asserts that “love and caring of both parents are essential for a healthy growth of a child” and parents must try and work things together to sort out their personal problems for the “benefit of their children”.
The article shows that divorce has a damaging effect on the lives of the affected children. The impact of divorce on children has been proven to negatively affect not only their academic performance, but most importantly their psychological behavior and attitudes towards the society and people they encounter in their lives. Research and further study on the effects of divorce by the researcher has revealed that not only is the child’s/children’s family life and sense of security harmed, but also their future relationships and behaviors with the people they encounter in life after divorce is considerably transformed (Wallerstein, Lewis & Blakelsee, 2000).
The emotional impact of divorce on the delicate psyche of the children is so immense that it leaves an indelible mark in the little minds and hearts, which sometimes stays all their lives and is evident in the insecurity of choosing life partners out of the fear that they may too have to bear the same fate as their parents (Wallerstein et al., 2000).
The article clearly affirms that children from divorced families face many social problems at school as well in their interactions with society. This can be in the form of distraction and frequent bouts of temper are some of the major effects that divorce is likely to have on these children, and it has also been reported that these children spend hours day-dreaming about the re-unification of their parents (Ayalon and Flasher, 1993). Divorce has considerable mental changes in the behavior of the affected children due to which they may tend to take advantage of other children and also may be inconsiderate towards their friends and colleagues. Immaturity and impulse in dealing with other children or friends may also be a possible behavioral trait among such children.
The article also highlights the problem of effective communication of the affected children with their tutors and also their peers, following a divorce. The author brings to the fore the feelings of “anxiety, sadness, moodiness phobia, and or depression” among children who have experienced divorce, due to which there may be higher levels of betrayals and hostility towards their friends and acquaintances or even future life partners.
This would obviously create numerous problems in trusting people. Several withdrawal symptoms may be noticeable among such children, reflecting a considerable amount of fear and insecurity in establishing relationships in their future lives (Ayalon & Flasher, 1993).
The behavior of children who have experienced divorce at some point in their lives can depict anti-social traits, among boys in particular (Stevenson & Black, 1996). Aggression, and poor academic results are also some of the many problems which these affected children are likely to face. Children need a sense of security in lives which the divorce can rip off from the lives of these children and could consequently result in negative behaviors in dealing with others including bullying younger kids, thieving, deceitfulness, beating up, harassing other children and even physically assaulting the younger children who may not be able to defend themselves (Franckle, 1983).
These activities could further segregate them from the society and could results in further loneliness and depression among them. The situation gets further triggered when these young children head towards adolescence and exhibit rebellious traits to the society in general. Some of these adult children may also have trouble in relating to people in authority (Wallerstein et al., 2000).
In another study at the University of Michigan, Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, Kather and Rembar it has been reported that children are significantly affected in their behavior towards other people following a divorce, which is the direct result of several psychological factors such as moodiness, depression and the fear of losing dear ones. These factors result in aggression when dealing with people especially either parents, close relations such as siblings or in some cases even friends and future life partners.
The article also references an article in Time issue, “Fear of Falling”, which states that female children or daughters were more likely to be negatively affected by divorce of parents. According to this article, due to parental divorce, girl-children ‘lack’ the ability to deal with the love and care of the opposite male counterparts in life, resulting in weak relationships with them, another heart wrenching fact. This fact is confirmed that divorce in parents results in reduced self-confidence among the affected children due to which, the children are unable to face the world and build substantially fruitful relations which could benefit them emotionally as well as in their growth in life (Parish T., Journal of Social Behaviors and Personality).
The effects of divorce on the lives of children are severe and long-lasting, with the ability to alter the entire lives of the affected children. As such, parents must take into consideration these and several other factors before deciding to end their marriages. Children need love, care and support from their parents to evolve as responsible and confident beings, and the failure to receive this affection could destroy their entire lives and personalities. Parents must act responsibly and act in sensible before taking decisions such as divorce, which could have drastic effects on the lives and future of their children.
Article: Meera Choudhary (2002). “Effects of Divorce on Children”. Web.
Ayalon, O., & Flasher, A. (1993). Chain reaction: Children and divorce. PA: Kingsley.
Franckle, L. B. (1983). Growing up divorced. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Myers, D. (2000). The American paradox: Spiritual hunger in an age of plenty. New Haven: Yale University.
Parish T., Journal of Social Behaviors and Personality in: Choudhary Meera (2002), “Effects of Divorce on Children”. Web.
Stevenson, M. R., & Black, K. N. (1996). How divorce affects offspring: A research approach. CO: Westview Press.
Time Issue, (2001) ‘Fear of Falling’ in Choudhary Meera (2002), “Effects of Divorce on Children”. Web.
Wallerstein, J. S., Lewis, J. M., & Blakeslee, S. (2000).The unexpected legacy of divorce: The 25 year landmark study. New York, NY: Hyperion.