How Does A Divorce Impact The Children? Part I

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-young-family-beach-happy-little-kid-having-fun-image32693465Over the course of history, divorce has been viewed as pathogenic for children. For a variety of reasons, the media and the general community tends to view divorce as bad. Many people assume that divorce will severely impact children in a negative manner. The research does not bear this out. Is it possible the research is too simplistic, and more advanced studies would show that more children are negatively impacted by divorce than current research suggests? Yes. Is it possible that the general community’s and media’s assumptions are wrong and that divorce does not negatively impact nearly as many people as believed and not as severely? Yes. So what’s the truth?
Based on current research, it appears that about 20% to 25% of children post-divorce have severe problems. See Eileen Mavis Hetherington, Social Support and the Adjustment of Children in Divorced and Remarried Families, 10 Childhood 217, 220 (2003).
Approximately 75% to 80% do not have significant psychological difficulties. Most children do well post-divorce and do not seem different than their peers who are from intact families. While children may still miss the ideal family and have some negative feelings about their parents’ divorce, this is no different than children who experience other difficult childhood events, such as the death of a parent. See See Kelly & Emery, supra note 37 (reviewing research on the impact of divorce on children).
Having a stressful and challenging event in childhood does not mean, however, that a child will develop significant psychological difficulties.
The research on the impact of divorce on children shows that when children have difficulties post-divorce it is related to specific factors that are associated with divorce, but are not a result of the divorce itself. When the negative aspect of these factors is managed well, children will likely do better post-divorce.

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