Divorce is an unfortunate event that happens in a marriage for a myriad of reasons. The fast pace of today’s society has placed independence for both sexes above the family and if there are children involved in the union, the impact of the dissolution of this bond is much greater. The concept of divorce is extremely difficult for children to understand, as there are many unanswered questions and uncertainties. The focus of this project will be to provide statistical data on divorce rates in addition to the short and long-term effects on children from various age groups. The goal of my research to bring awareness to couples contemplating the idea of divorce or have the process in motion, to help them think critically when deciding on this issue. As an investigator, I will provide a range of research that will have applicable information on this topic for any age group.
This topic correlates to my current personal experience with divorce and the effect it has on children. I have observed the experiences of friends, family members, co-workers and the adjustments they made with their families. By no means am I expert or certified in a professional role on this topic, but my strong conviction comes from my direct experience with my own child. Due to the conditions of my employment in the U.S. army, I have to relocate frequently and emotionally, it distances me from my son, Therefore, I am able to notice that factors such as timing, distance, life styles and parenting, do effect children of all ages. From own personal experience and the research to be conducted, my hypothesis is divorce is extremely damaging to all children, no matter how old they are. What will be interesting, however, is to see if there is one age group or a particular age group that struggles with divorce more than another.
Along with my personal experience, I will include intensive research in my paper to determine if the information supports my personal assessment which that divorce has an incredibly destructive impact on children and their future development. It affects their self-esteem, creates trust issues, alters interaction in future relationships with significant others and may decimate the structure of the family. According to Fagan and Churchill (2012), “Each year over a million American children suffer the divorce of their parents. Divorce causes irreparable harm to all involved, but most especially to the children.”
There is also information available that disproves my hypothesis. Consider other research that has been performed, which suggests children certainly do experience trauma when their parents initially divorce but eventually overcome it without any significant damage. An article by Arkowitz and Lilienfeld (2013) states, “In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year.”
Also, it does appear children of different age groups to handle divorce in varying fashions. Without performing research, one might conclude a younger child, for instance under age 5, might not be as affected by the divorce because they remember their life with their parents separated. According to an article by Pickhardt (n.d.), however, a child of this age could be quite severely impacted by the divorce. He says, “Basically, divorce tends to intensify the child’s dependence and it tends to accelerate the adolescent’s independence; it often elicits a more regressive response in the child and a more aggressive response in the adolescent (Pickhardt, n.d.).” Reviewing my personal experience with divorce and my child, in addition to the situations of other people I know that have been divorced, this could very well have merit. After conducting my research I will acquire the necessary information to confirm or deny my initial hypothesis.
- Arkowitz, Hal and Lilenfeld, Scott. (2013). Is Divorce Bad for Children?. Scientific American.
February 13, 2013. Web. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/ on June 6,
- Fagan, Patrick and Churchill, Aaron. (2012). The Effects of Divorce on Children. Marriage and
Religion Research Institute. January 11, 2012. Web. Retrieved from
http://www.thefamilywatch.org/ on June 6, 2014.
- Pickhardt, Carl. (n.d.). The Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents. Psychology
Today. N.d. Web. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/.