If two people love each other enough to get married, and together choose to form a lifelong commitment, why are so many of these marriages ending? What does marriage mean to people nowadays and why do people decide to get married? Records show us that people have been getting married for as long as the earliest recorded history.There are many benefits for couples who have a successful marriage. When a marriage begins to fail it is usually due to a couple’s inability to communicate, lack of a common goal, or a trust vs. mistrust issue; therefore, more so than not, these types of situations will ultimately result in a divorce. The most frequently asked question over the last two decades has been, Does divorce effect children and how so? Studies have shown that divorce affects children in many ways: affects their self-esteem, feels as thought they “lose” a parent, and takes away their sense of family.
The divorce rate has quadrupled form 4.3 million in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996 (quoted form census bureaus release about its marital status and living arrangements). “The number of children living with both parents declined from 85 to 68 percent between 1970 and 1996. The proportion of children living with one parent has grown from 12 percent to 28 percent during this same time span (Quoted from Census Bureau’s release about its report on marital status and living arrangements)”. A person’s first marriage, if it were to end in divorce, will most likely end in the first 3 to 5 years (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992, p. 4). “Half of all children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage (Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, “Life Course,” 656ff. Cited on page76 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher). “Since the introduction of “no-fault divorce” in Canada 30 years ago, the rate of marital break-up has soared 600%. A third of all marriages fail, and over a third of those break-ups involve children. One-fifth of Canadian children have lost a parent to divorce, with an effect that some sociologists now say can be, “worse than a parent’s death.” Younger people in the U.S. who are marrying for the first time face roughly a 40-50% chance of divorcing in their lifetime under current trends (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992, p. 5). Studies show that ten years after their parents divorce 30% of the children cope successfully in life, while 40% have mixed successes with relationships, and personal problems. The remaining 30% continue to struggle with significant relationship and personal problems (Wallerstein, 1989).
Divorce is a painful experience to go through for everyone who is involved. In reality, divorce is the destruction of Gods intentions of a true, loving family. Children of divorced families are, in a sense, robbed of a special experience of having a family. Children, in the mist of all of their confusion, usually turn to God to ask Him the one question that remains on their minds, and that is, “why me?” These same children that go through a divorce are worse off than children that come from families without divorce. When parents split up, there are many different emotions children have to deal with, usually by themselves. When these certain feelings are expressed it usually results in abnormal behavior. Adults and children are at increased risk for mental and physical problems due to marital distress (Fincham, Grych, & Osborne, 1993). The abnormal behaviors that these children depict are that they tend to have more difficulties in certain situations in their lives: in school, behavior problems, problems with peers, parental relationships, juvenile emotional disorders, crime, suicide, promiscuity and later marital break-up. Adults who went through divorce as a child will admit that their parents divorce was one of the most stressful events in their childhood.
Divorce often results in the loss of a parent for the children. Mothers and fathers are important assets that children need in their lives forever. They provide the child with not only emotional support, but also serve as life-long role models for their child. Most kids become angry with their parents or sometimes even reject the departing parent; moreover, some remain sad over the divorce and long for the absent parent.
Another common result of divorce is that children living in single parent families are less likely to have as many financial resources. Adults usually find themselves working more hours to support the family. Children suffer when their parent is more stressed, tired or just trying to find a new life for themselves. This shows, that once again, children suffer.
Divorce often results in many changes in children’s living situations. Children have to make adjustments to changes in relationships with friends and family members. These changes create a more stressful environment for children. Living with one parent having to move back and forth can be very confusing.
Conflict is frequently part of families and may be common in families that have undergone divorce. The way in which children handle divorce is strongly related to the manner in which both parents handle the divorce. One of the most harmful things in a divorce is constant parental fighting. The amount of which children are exposed to conflict may have visible effects on a child. When parents fight over visitation or other issues it makes the child feel insecure. When parents use their children as messengers, instead of talking directly to each other, children may feel pulled in two directions.
Divorce is a painful situation that children have to go through. There are many different factors that will affect children in different ways. No matter what, divorce ultimately affects how children both think and act.
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