Divorce is one of the most disputed questions related to family life, along with abortions, same-sex couples’ marriage, and adoption. Each of these aspects of matrimonial relationships induces numerous debates and arguments both among those involved and those interested on the part of legal or ethical aspects. It is a common belief that the most detrimental influence of a divorce is that on children whose parents stop living together. A split of the family and considerable changes in young individuals’ lives may lead to serious adverse consequences. However, while the divorce is believed to have a negative effect on children, there is evidence that breaking up an unhealthy marriage eventually leads to the enhancement of children’s well-being.
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Divorce may be defined as the process of terminating a marital union between two people. As of 2017, the marriage rate in the USA constituted 6.9 per 1,000 people, whereas the recorded divorce rate was 2.9 per 1,000 citizens (“Marriage and divorce,” 2017). Typically, a divorce involves much more than merely two people ceasing to live together under one roof. Firstly, it is usually more than just two people stopping to co-exist as a family.
Secondly, the issue of the common roof (that is, home) is also rather crucial in the divorce process. The procedure of divorce entails the division of the property that the couple have gained together during their marriage. Furthermore, ex-spouses have to consider other important problems, such as alimony and child custody. The growing rates of divorces draw the attention of social scientists (Härkönen, 2014). Scholars investigate both positive and negative outcomes of divorce on various participants of the process.
The major problem associated with divorce is its effect on children. Adults may have their reasons for separation, and they are most likely to feel relieved and happy after they put an end to unhealthy relationships. However, if there are children in the family, the problem becomes aggravated. The most frequent complication of the divorce related to children is their decreasing educational attainment (Tartari, 2015). Usually, the youngest members of disconnected families do not receive proper emotional care from their parents, which results adversely on their academic achievement. Even if parents are content with their new status, it does not mean they feel happy.
Frequently, getting a divorce means putting an end to moral and emotional suffering, but does not offer any financial stability for the spouse left with the child. Consequently, a full-time working mother cannot give enough attention to children, and the latter lag behind their peers due to feeling isolated and unwanted (Tartari, 2015). Hence, children living in incomplete families often indicate decreasing achievement at school.
Another negative impact of divorce on children is the alterations in their behavior. As Weaver and Schofield (2015) remark, children from divorced families demonstrate more behavior problems than those from full families. Particularly, they experience more internalizing and externalizing problems both in short- and long-term dimensions. Weaver and Schofield (2015) note that the process of accommodation differs depending on the post-divorce atmosphere at home. Children living in low-income families and those whose mothers experience a high degree of depression are less likely to avoid developing negative behaviors. These findings show that divorce has a harmful effect on children’s development.
Despite the prevailing thought that the divorce’s impact on children is purely negative, the question is dubious. The controversy is in the idea that children benefit from quitting to be a part of a family with a negative environment. As a result, the end of such an unhealthy union of parents leads to children’s improved status. Research by Symoens, Colman, and Bracke (2014) indicates that living in a constant state of conflict causes serious mental problems both in adult and young members of families. Thus, when a child lives with one parent but without having to listen to two parents arguing incessantly, he or she is more likely to be psychologically stable.
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Another solution to the problem is the probability of parents’ enhanced treatment of children after divorce. According to Elam, Sandler, Wolchik, and Tein (2015), some parents, especially fathers, tend to change their relationships with children after being separated from them. If during an unhappy marriage, they feel unwilling to rush home and spend time with their children, the situation changes considerably after the divorce. Hence, the children’s state of well-being may actually become better after their parents separate.
The analyzed problems and solutions have confirmed the thesis statement. Indeed, although many people view divorce as a purely negative phenomenon, there are certain benefits for children from it. The most significant asset is the opportunity to live in a harmonious environment, with no loud feuds between the two most important people in a child’s life. Despite the indications of adverse behavior changes among children following their parents’ divorce, it is frequently the case that young individuals become happier and more stable psychologically upon their parents’ split. Taking into consideration contrary opinions on the topic, divorce is one of the most controversial issues in modern society.
Elam, K. K., Sandler, I., Wolchik, S., & Tein, J.-Y. (2015). Non-residential father–child involvement, interparental conflict and mental health of children following divorce: A person-focused approach. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(3), 581–593. Web.
Härkönen, J. (2014). Divorce: Trends, patterns, causes, and consequences. In J. Treas, J. Scott, & M. Richards (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell companion to the sociology of families (pp. 303–322). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
Marriage and divorce. (2017). Web.
Symoens, S., Colman, E., & Bracke, P. (2014). Divorce, conflict, and mental health: How the quality of intimate relationships is linked to post-divorce well-being. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(3), 220–233. Web.
Tartari, M. (2015). Divorce and the cognitive achievement of children. International Economic Review, 56(2), 597–645. Web.
Weaver, J. M., & Schofield, T. J. (2015). Mediation and moderation of divorce effects on children’s behavior problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(1), 39–48. Web.