Free Essay

Divorce

In: Social Issues

Submitted By deeire
Words 2799
Pages 12
Running Head: Research Paper – Effect of Divorce on Parenting

Derin Ireyomi
103091991
University of Windsor
02-48-305
Dr. Omorodion

Abstract
In the past two decades, the trend of divorce and shared custody has increased and affected the lives of almost 57% of couples and their children (Boyan, 2003). Divorces have been known to have a huge effect on parenting practices of both the mother and the father. For the complete and balanced development of children and adolescents, the involvement of both the father and the mother is extremely crucial. From playing and socializing during the primary years to negotiation, monitoring and supervision in early teens, both the mother and father play equal guiding roles in the development of children (Boyan, 2003).
Introduction
Children who have both parents feel successful, competent and happy, when both parents are involved in their lives (Markham et al, 2012). Conversely, children who live with a single parent are more likely to feel unhappy, depressed, and garner an awkward feeling (Schwartz, 2006). Additionally, couples involved in the divorce also experience a huge effect on their parenting practices and their daily lives as well (Sayer, 2006). This paper will investigate the negative effects divorce has on parenting practices and how it will affect the way the children are raised. Through this, I will analyze the evidence provided in the articles by Sayer (2006), Pruett (1998), Schwartz (2007), and other authors to determine whether parental abilities are below level or similar to those of uniform parents.

The Most Commonly Known Impact of Divorce on Children
Children are highly affected by the divorce of their parents because during the divorce struggle, parents tend to ignore their needs and mental stress (Bojuwoye et al, 2009). Since the divorce directly impacts the parenting abilities of the parents, it also impacts the social, physical and mental health of the children (Bojuwoye et al, 2009). Some of the most commonly known adverse impacts of divorce on children are-: The children whose parents are getting divorced lose confidence in relationships and families and also stop trusting anyone. Their sense of family and belonging is lost which forces them into recluse and loneliness (Sayer, 2006). The children especially, young adults and teenagers see their parents’ divorce as a social defamation for them. They find it hard to face their friends and classmates because they are scared of being laughed at in public (Schwartz, 2006). Some children start to blame themselves for the cause of their parents’ separation.
As they witness the bitter fights and spats between their father and mother, they start to believe that they are the root cause behind the separation of their parents. As parents tend to forget the responsibilities they have towards their children, they sometimes ignore the physical health of the children. In many cases, the children are suffering from some acute diseases, which get ignored due to other distractions (Sayer, 2006). Another major issue that comes up is that the parents do not explain to the children the reason behind their separation let alone giving them any assurance that even after the divorce, their love for him/her would not change (Sayer, 2006). This makes the child apprehensive about the future and scared about losing one of their parents’ love forever (Schwartz, 2006). Another important and damaging effect is that the children lose one of their parents contact after the divorce is finalized hence disturbing their lifestyle and routine immensely.
The Pre-Divorce Period and its Effects
Although the effect divorce has on children has been widely researched, recent studies has shown that divorce has an adverse effect on the lives of the parents and on their parenting capacity. During the course of the divorce, the parents are pre-occupied with their personal issues and agendas, which causes a disturbance in their parenting practices, which in turn affects the upbringing of the child (Sayer, 2006).
While going through the divorce, feelings of estrangement, emotional detachment and unraveling starts before the divorce is actually obtained and finalized. During this period, both partners begin to part ways and alienate each other. Various legal settlement conflicts come up, leaving a distasteful feeling within their relationship (Schwartz, 2006). This is an extremely stressful process of emotional separation, planning out the details of the divorce; and the dissatisfaction usually leaves both the mother and the father too occupied to think about the child.
The parenting efficiency of each parent suffers heavily due to the negative influence their psychological state has on their children, alongside anxiety, depression and parental commitments. The changing family dynamics that occur well before the final divorce settlement greatly affect the parenting capacity of the parent (Schwartz, 2006).
The effect of the pre-divorce period on the parenting capacity would be the mental health of the child being ignored. During the pre-divorce period, both parents tend to ignore the mental peace of their children. Amongst children up to 12 years of age, it is extremely crucial for the parents to explain the reasons why they are going through divorce to their children. Often the divorcing couples get so pre-occupied with their own emotional and financial dispute, they forget their child’s inhibitions and stress completely (Sayer, 2006).
Amongst adolescents, the problem becomes even more severe because they understand the separation between their parents and feel responsible for the burden they impose on them. This makes them revengeful, depressed and full of suppressed anger. Often the parents do not fulfill their parental responsibility of trying to make their child understand the situation they are going (Strohschein, 2006).
The second effect would be neglect towards the child’s problems. Filing for divorce, finalizing numerous formalities, debates and discussions with the lawyers, striving for out of the court cordial settlements, coming to a consensus on the terms and conditions of the divorce, including parameters like alimony, child education, child maintenance, etc. are all extremely cumbersome tasks that drain both the parents of their time and energy, but also their emotional capacity to think of and deal with other issues (Strohschein, 2006). During such period of time, they are unable to focus on the growth and development of their child. They do not take full care of them (Boyan, 2003). The concerns for their child are unintentionally sidelined. Children have a deep fear of chaotic situations and when they realize something is wrong, they create a mental shell around them to protect themselves. Basically, from both the side of the child and the parents, withdrawal occurs and the child ultimately relapses into the penumbra of parental care and attention (Pruett, 1998).
Lack of Attention to Child’s daily routine is a third effect. According to Boyan, the mental health of the child and the capability of parental care are declined during the pre-divorce period from escalating tensions and stress. What also needs noting are the routinely life of the child in which their daily chores and activities are utterly neglected (Boyan, 2003). Unlike adults, who have well developed emotional mechanisms that prepare them to handle trauma by sidelining it and focus on the situation, children lack such abilities. They cannot carry on with their life and ignore their emotions. Hence, a child is heavily dependent on their parent’s care and support to overcome their problem (Strohschein, 2006).
During the pre divorce period, because of the tension and the lack of time, parents do not fulfill their basic duty of managing the daily life of their kid. These include, regular doses of medicine and check-ups, parent-teacher meetings, recreational activities, etc. all of which are needed for the healthy growth of their child (Boyan, 2003).
The fourth effect is the psychological adversities for the child. Divorce is usually a very traumatic and life changing event in the life of any child. Such emotional trauma escalates if the circumstances of the separation are involved with hostility (Strohschein, 2006). In fact, such psychological adversities begin right from the pre-divorce period and are significantly increased. In a nutshell, divorce more often than not, unless handled with exceptional care and caution, spells extreme emotional catastrophe for the child.
The lack of family bonding is also one of the effects of the pre-divorce period. When the parents venture into the pre-divorce territory because of external relationships with new partners, two different sets of family are created. Although the child develops acquaintance and may even foster friendship with these new additions, an emotional hollow is created within the child because although the family size has expanded, there is no solidarity between relationships. Now, although the child has a new stepfamily, they do not have a concrete family to lean on (Boyan, 2003). This takes away the comfort, security and emotional stability that the child could have otherwise been in. As such, acute family bonding occurs and unleashes many complex emotions within the child’s life. Thus the creation of new sets of family can cause a serious deprivation of familial bonding for the child.
The Post Divorce Period and its Effects
As much as the pre-divorce period affects the parenting capacity of the mother and the father, it is the post-divorce period that takes a greater toll (Schwartz, 2006). After the divorce is final, in the case of a mutual divorce, the parents usually opt for shared custody. The child is suddenly expected to see and meet their parents in brief periods of time (Boyan, 2003). For the child, the sense of family is very important but the divorce forces them to live an estranged life. The negative effect of divorce can be described in the following manner: Parental complications due to shared custody – when a divorce occurs, the parents often have to battle it out for the custody of the child. This not only creates extreme adjustment issues for the child, but also leads to impossible barriers for both the parents to the point where their parental abilities are negatively affected (Boyan, 2003). For instance, if the parent who has the custody of the child decides to relocate, the other parent is forced to decide on whether to shift or not. Similarly, in the smallest aspect of the child’s life – from school’s parent-teacher meetings, holiday planning, and so on – parents have to face conflicts and make intelligent and cautious decisions (Pruett, 1998).
The emotional conflicts leading to neglect of children is another post-divorce effect. After the divorce has happened, emotional, legal and financial conflicts besiege the lives of the two parents. As such, the child is torn between choosing between the two. The parents further neglect their filial responsibilities, which causes emotional trauma to their child (Strohschein, 2006).
Another challenge that divorced parents face is that there is a sudden bombardment in the number of people and activities that demand their attention. The new families that they get associated with may also have children. Suddenly their focus shifts from their own child to their stepsons and/or stepdaughters (Boyan, 2003). This is because there is the need to create new relations with the new family and establish strong bonds with them. They also feel the pressure from their new spouse to prove their mettle as stepparents. Because of this their own child receive divided attention, and in some extreme cases, none at all (Pruett, 1998).
During the post-divorce period, possible effects could be a parent being bad role models for the children. Divorced parents often end up setting negative examples for their children. Although such a circumstance can be avoided, this is generally the case with people who are frequently divorced, or those who indulge in adultery. More often than not, divorcees look to drugs, smoking, and heavy alcoholism to deal with their problem. This causes them to neglect their children, but also influence their children in a negative way (Pruett, 1998). Sometimes, they slip into long-stretched phases of depression and are completely pessimistic and unenthusiastic about their life and their child’s. Again, this is dangerous for the emotional and mental well being of the child. Researches have proved time and again that children who grow up in such hostile parenting environment suffer from numerous psychological issues (Markham et al, 2012).
Counter Techniques to Improve the Parenting Skills
There are many techniques to improve parenting skills. A first would be to understand your child; to improve the parenting skills during the pre-divorce and the post-divorce period, the most important thing is to cater to the needs of the children. Even when the couples are separating from each other, they still have to take the responsibility of the child together. Making the child understand the importance and the necessity of the divorce is crucial in order to help the child overcome the trauma (Schwartz, 2006). Secondly, It would be giving proper attention and care to the children. To provide complete care to the children and to help them cope with the divorce naturally, it is important that both parents continue to give the same time and attention as they did before (Schwartz, 2006). Assuring the child that the divorce will not diminish their importance parent’s life will help them shed their inhibitions and fear of lost identity. Therefore, parents who are planning to or have already divorced must handle their kids with proper care, caution and consideration (Markham et al, 2012).
Lastly, keep the children and parenting techniques free from all hostilities. Another important step that needs to be taken is that the entire process: from filing of the divorce to the custody of the child, should be kept free of negative emotions and actions. When the child senses that something is wrong, it creates a ceaseless emotional drain on the child (Boyan, 2003). Furthermore, when the child is forced to witness scenes of fighting and violence between their parents, the child suffers from severe depression symptoms. The parenting skills also decline considerably in such a hostile environment. Hence, care must be taken to ensure that the entire process occurs in a friendly manner, with a clear focus on the needs of the child, so that the child is not unduly affected (Boyan, 2003).
Conclusion
This report establishes that the parental effectiveness and efficiency of parents who are planning to divorce or are already separated causes distress not only between the parents but the child as well (Boyan, 2003). This leads to undesirable psychological effects on their child. These include lack of attention to their child’s mental health, a negative example set by the parents, ignorance of the child’s routine activities, and the sudden deluge in the number of parental activities that need attention (Pearson et al, 1990). Right from when disputes crop up, to the time of the court settlement, to the post-divorce period: all the stages of divorce diminish the parental aptitude of the couple and unleash negative consequences on the child (Pearson et al, 1990).
While the report sought to illuminate the effects of pre divorce and post divorce periods on filial attitudes and hence on the children who face such circumstances, it also established that such effects are not irrevocable or unavoidable (Bojuwoye et al, 2009). If the child is handled delicately, with proper care and counseling, and if the entire process is carried out in a reasonable and affable environment devoid of hostilities, the child and the parents will not be adversely impacted. Thus, although the negative consequences of divorcing on parenting are myriad and to a certain extent, inevitable, they can certainly be controlled and mitigated through the suggested preventative measures noted in Boyan’s paper (Boyan, 2003).

References
Bojuwoye, O., & Akpan, O. (2009). Personal, familial, and environmental perspectives in children’s reactions to parental divorce in South Africa. Journal of Family Studies, 15, 260-273.
Markham, M.S., & Coleman, M. (2012). The good, the bad, and the ugly: Divorced mothers’ experiences of co-parenting. Family Relations, 61(4), 506-600. Pearson, J., & Thoennes, N. (1990). Custody after divorce: Demographic and attitudinal patterns. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60, 233 – 248.
Pruett, M. K., & Hoganbruen, K. (1998). Joint custody and shared parenting. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 7, 273 – 294.
Sayer, L. C. (2006). Economic aspects of divorce and relationship dissolution. In M. A. Fine & J. H. Harvey (Eds.), Handbook of divorce and relationship dissolution (pp. 385 – 406). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
Schwartz, S.J., & Finley, G.E. (2009). Mothering, fathering, and divorce: The influence of divorce on reports of and desires for maternal and paternal involvement. Family Court Review, 47(3), 506-522.
Strohschein, L. (2007). Challenging the presumption of diminishing capacity to parent: Does divorce really change parenting practices? Family Relations, 56(4), 358-368
Boyan, S. B. (2003). Cooperative Parenting and Divorce Parent's Guide. Marietta, Georgia, United States of America: Active Parenting Publishers.

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...become a recurring trend for those in society (Macionis). The United States divorce rate has more than tripled over the past century. Research states that for every ten couples four to five of them will end up divorce and six out of ten involved in a second marriage may also walk the same path. Today about twenty-five percent of marriages end in a separation of divorce within five years, and about four marriages in ten eventually do so ( for African Americans, the rate is about six in ten) (Macionis). People over the age of fifteen, 21 percent of men and 23 percent of women have been divorced at some point in his or her life (Macionis). The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Society is now seeing divorce as a norm, and will continue to occur as long as we live. Marriage consist of many different variables; age, race/ethnicity, financial standing, family history and even motives. To determine the reason(s) for divorce these variables may need to be accounted for. Age comes with many beneficial traits, maturity, life experience, and even social status. With age in mind, young couples who marry after a brief commitment with the opposite sex and lack financial support along with emotional maturity tend to have a high risk of being divorced. Another variable to take into consideration is race/ethnicity. In a study conducted by Dr. Matthew Bramlett and Dr. William Mosher, divorce [trends] appeared to be similar for non-hispanic women, [but in......

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