Is Divorce Harmful to Children?

ENGWR 300 Essay #2 November 1, 2011 Maybe You Should Get a Divorce The fact that divorce is harmful to children is undisputed throughout society however is divorce really a negative choice? Can it be a positive one for both the parents and the children? Society has the notion, and various research has proven, that children who are raised in a divorced family environment are more likely to struggle when building relationships of their own and are more likely to get divorced themselves. These children are more prone to have battles with depression during their adolescent years and continue these struggles into adulthood.

When a person tells his or her family that they are getting a divorce the first reaction is usually “what about the children? ” When an unhealthy family environment is present, divorce can be a better alternative despite the consequences it has on the children involved. Children who are raised in a family where there is constant turmoil experience sever physiological issues into their adult life. (SITE) The aftermath of a divorce, when compared, sounds very similar to the effects that staying in an undesirable family environment can have on a child.

In this paper we will examine the effects of divorce and the implications of staying in an unhealthy marriage. In today’s society approximately half of children in the United States are being raised in a single parent home thus putting the sanctity of marriage into question (SITE). Some of these families are a product of divorce while others are a forced situation because of an absent parent due to other circumstances. Undeniably children have a right to parental support from two parents both emotionally and financially.

Children who are raised in a divorced family environment have an increased need for this support however they have fewer resources to obtain it. Judith (1994) has concluded that men and women have dramatically different behaviors in regards to raising a child after a divorce has taken place. Issues that both parents were once in agreement on are now a source of conflict due to hurt feelings and animosity towards the other parent. Typically in parenting plans, the mother usually will end up being the primary care takers of the children while the athers continue to work and support the children to ensure their needs are met. According to Judith, men tend to develop stronger relationships with the children of their new spouse or live-in partner then that of their own children. The diminish of a parental link can cause severe emotional damage to children, especially younger ones as they do not have the ability to reason or completely understand the situation at hand. The amount and degree of these affects is in question by various researchers yet the fact that it is a negative effect has been acknowledged. Judith, 1994) Some of the more prominent effects on children raised in a single parent home are the ones it has on the child’s education, social well being and financial stability of the family. Children who come from divorced families are almost twice as likely as those of two parent homes to drop out of school. (SITE) During and after a divorce children are shuffled between homes to accommodate custody rights of both parents however the aftermath is a child feeling like they have no solid foundation or roots; no place to call home.

The end result could be a child finding their own way instead of going down the path of life with the guidance from their parents. Research has also shown that girls who primarily live with their mothers are better adjusted than boys who primarily live with their mothers (SITE) On the other hand children who live solely with their mothers tend to have less financial resources as family income typically has been cut. Even though you cannot buy happiness with money, without sufficient food and living conditions happiness is a commodity that is hard to come by.

There are many external factors that play into the decision for two people to end a marriage but the end result tends to affect the child the same. Emotional issues, educational struggles and broken parental bonds are things that no parent would wish their child to go through; so with all the research available showing these inevitable outcomes why do so many parents still choose divorce? Some parents whose husband and wife relationship has ended do choose to stay together for the sake of their children often end up doing more harn than good.

The hostility and stress may be so entence tha the children end up being victimized in their own home. Their parents, the ones who are suppose to provide a safe environment for them fail. Memories of shouting, fighting, crying and anger will stay with a child forever. In situations where the marriage is beyond repair a divorce may be the only feasible solution and it will present the children with a new perspective on life. It will also allow them to deal with issues in a positive way even though they are not ideal (JOAN, 1998) Different people with different situations will experience divorce in ways that others may not.

E. Mavis states that at least 20% of divorced women emerge from a divorce feeling empowered or free and feel they are able to change their life. Many of them end up going back to college, establish careers and become a more positive role model for their children. Several of these women often have satisfying and happy second marriages creating a healthy and safe environment for their children to grow up in. (E. MAVIS, 2002) Another possible positive outcome of divorce is that children can emerge from their parents divorce being more responsible and open minded having learned from their own family experiences.

If both parents are emotionally capable of handling the situation of divorce, this can model behavior to their children on how to deal with less that optimal life stressors that are at times out of our control. Ultimately these children will be more prepared to handle stress in the own lives. There are situations where children are not given the opportunity to grow up in the safe environment that they need and deserve. When sexual and/or physical abuse is an issue with a parent in the home, divorce is the best way to ensure the children are removed and placed out of harm’s way.

Children who are forced to live in families with domestic abuse can endure a lifetime of psychological problems. (SITE) In addition, when a spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol and they refuse professional help, divorce may be the safest option for the rest of the family. It is no question that divorce is not the ideal situation for children. It is a stressful and emotionally draining experience for everyone who is involved, however there are times where it is better than living in violent, abusive and unhealthy environments. (Gregory, Divorce is an Option)