Divorce’s Effects on Children Essay

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The dramatic rise in the rate of divorce in the United States between 1960 and 1980 is well known, and even more so are the high divorce rates over the past twenty years. In 1970, twelve percent of American families with children under age eighteen were headed by single parents, and by 1984, one-fourth of American families and nearly sixty percent of black families were headed by single parents (Demo & Acock, 1988, p. 619). These high divorce rates have resulted in numerous changes in American family life. While predictions vary, the consensus is that most youth will spend some time prior to age eighteen in a single-parent household based on recent social and demographic trends. Individuals with divorced parents are at increased risk of …show more content…
Separation is typically preceded by a period of conflict or mutual disengagement between spouses, and divorce is usually followed by a series of stressful circumstances for children (Amato & Sobolewski, 2001, p. 901). These circumstances can include reduced contact with noncustodial parents, increased tension between children and custodial parents, continuing rancor between parents, a decline in standard living, and an increase in residential mobility. One-fourth to one-third of parents have considerable difficulty trying to work through their anger, disappointment, and loss in order to establish healthy interpersonal relationships with other adults (Lamb, Sternberg, & Thompson, 1997, p. 396). In addition, divorce is most normally followed by the remarriage of one or both parents which brings on a whole new source of stress for many children. Parental remarriage also gives way to a possibility of multiple parental divorces. All of these stressful situations are likely to impact negatively on children’s psychological adjustment; consequently, the high level of distress among adult children who grew up in divorced families may represent a simple continuation of these previously expressed emotional problems. Parental divorce is associated with lower socioeconomic status in adulthood. Children with divorced parents are more likely to drop out of high school, less likely to attend college, and complete fewer years of education overall. A decrease in children’s standard of

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