Divorce Affects Children
Over a million American families will experience divorce this year and half of the children born to married couples will experience their parent’s divorce before they turn 18 years old. The effects of a divorce on the family are many and the negative physical, emotional, and financial effects can have especially large consequences for the children. Any divorce with children involved puts a lot of stress on the fundamental unit of American society, the family, and has a profoundly negative effect on society overall.
Children of divorced single parents have more health problems, behavioral issues, and emotional disturbances during their lifetimes. They are also more likely to be involved in crime and drug abuse, and have an increased risk of suicide as well. Children of divorced families get lower grades in school and are more likely to fail a grade or drop-out completely. They are also far less likely to attend college than children of non-divorce families. Kids have many negative reactions to divorce that have been observed including sadness, anger, insecurity, and lack of trust, which can lead to depression, conduct issues, or unrealistic relationship views.
The boys are more likely to act out during the time of divorce, showing their aggression and anger at the situation. Girls have shown they try to keep their frustration inside. The pent up emotion will often show up later in the lives of the girls though. The resulting confusion occurs at the crucial time when many young women are making decisions that will have long-term implications for their lives. Suddenly overcome by fears and anxieties, they can begin to make connections between these feelings and their parents’ divorce and draw the conclusion that all relationships have a good chance of being untrustworthy and that betrayal and infidelity are common. The short-term outcomes for children from divorced families are definitely negative, but the overall picture can get a bit more optimistic when the children mature and eventually learn to accept the past. Many children of divorce have a strong desire to fix what their parents could not within their own adult lives and desire stable families and relationships of their own.
As the family unit in our society gets weaker and fewer people are getting married, more people are getting divorced, and more people opt for single parenthood or cohabitation in the first place. Even church attendance has been shown to drop after a family splits up. The two-parent family has long been proven to be the best environment to raise healthy, happy children who can achieve their personal goals later in life. Since the family is the most important institution for stability in a society, it makes sense to try to reverse many of the current trends and focus on keeping marriage, and ultimately families, intact. Strengthening and preserving marriage would be good for families and the nation as a whole and it might help reduce the rising divorce rate too.