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Family Dynamics Presentation

Michelle Romano

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Divorce

Keith Johnson, Amanda Millen, Michelle Romano Families Dealing with Divorce The strongest indicator of adjustment after divorce is forming a healthy, intimate relationship. External Family Relationships Girls are more likely to have strained relationship with their parent Stress in forming new cohabiting relationship is greater than benefits of possible support What do you already know? 75% of those who initiate divorce
did so with influence of new romantic partner or close friend If new romantic partner is residential, this will provide more immediate support. Adjustment of children in single parents homes is better than in cohabiting families External Family Relationships Boys in cohabiting households scored higher on most problems measured Cohabiting partner is not likely to be financially and emotionally invested in residential children When people move in together after they are engaged, the relationship may be more successful Adult Implications Risk of physical abuse for cohabiting couples is three times higher than for married couples Cohabiting partner's relationship with children and parenting style tends to be problematic 2. Regulating information shared with children Repartnering Three challenges... 1. Developing dating strategy 3. Managing relationship between children and new partner There are parenting education programs for divorcing parents. There are statutes that support joint custody, shared parental responsibility, and contact with both parents The Legal System Three states have instituted covenant marriage laws 10% of divorcing families can't come to an agreement on coparenting The Legal System cont... High conflict is associated with
poor outcome for children Drawn out court procedures encourage families to find alternative solutions to disagreements. Mothers who used collaborative attorneys had better psychological functioning, which leads to positive effects for children Use of mediation is linked to lower trial rates and more cooperative coparenting Custody Rulings Most family court judges have no training in family systems and refer to custody evaluators for assistance American Law Institute wants an approximation rule to guide contested custody cases Custody has traditionally been granted based on best-interest-of-the-child standard Psychological interventions exist for high conflict divorces, but have not been tested. Works Cited Risk and Resilience After Divorce
Process Model of Divorce • most commonly accepted theoretical model involves a process perspective that addresses stress, risk, resilience • most commonly accepted theoretical model involves a process perspective that addresses stress, risk, resilience • Divorce produces a chain of transitional events, family reorganizations, alterations of roles and relationships, individual adjustment • Reactions to the challenges is influenced by the history of family functioning and previous life experiences (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) Process Model of Divorce
Protective vs. Vulnerability Factors
“resilience vs. risk” •Factors to consider: Personal characteristics, family processes, ecological systems “friends, extended family, school, community, job”
•Developmental factors: more susceptible to stress at certain developmental stages, and “sleeper effect”
•Non-normative challenges: single parent household, parental dating, remarriage (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) Divorce by the Numbers • Divorce increased from the 60’s peaking in 1981. •In the 2000’s the divorce rate slowly declined; rate still around 50% • Divorce rates per length of marriage:
– 5 yrs.= 20%
– 10 yrs.= 33%
– 15 yrs.= 43% (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) Divorce by the Numbers • After divorce it is important to note that family life will continuously be transformed • 84% of children reside with their mothers after separation • Parental dating can be one of the hardest transformations to adapt to for children and ex-partners
– 32% parents date 3 or more partners by 1 yr. mark
– 24% parents cohabitate within 1 yr. • These constant transformations provide additional implications for adjustment; multiple transitions increase adaptive challenges (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) Are there precursors for divorce? • Factors: age at marriage, education, s(“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012)ocioeconomic standing, race/ethnicity, religiosity, parent’s marital history, community • Education has an inverse relationship with divorce in white women… high school diploma cuts divorce risk by 21% • However, education has a positive relationship among Hispanic women: 10% more likely to divorce if educated ( Could be due to cultural and environmental variables) highly complex and interrelated • Divorce risks have also been associated with socioeconomic disadvantage (male unemployment rate, median family income, %below poverty line) (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012)
Are there precursors for divorce? (cont.) PATTERNS OF INTERACTION AND CHARACTERISTICS
•High Risk Behavior: negative escalation, contempt, denial, blaming, disengagement, stonewalling • Differing views of family life, lack of shared interests/friends, little interdependence • Risk associated with preexisting levels of personal maladjustment (depression, substance abuse, antisocial behavior) (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) • Bryner, C.L. (2001). Children of divorce. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 14(3), 201-210.

• Children of Divorce Groups. In Greif, G.L., & Ephross, P.H. (Eds.). (2011). Group work with populations at risk (93-108). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

• Connolly, M. E., & Green, E. J. (2009). Evidence-Based Counseling Interventions with Children of Divorce: Implications for elementary school counselors. Journal Of School Counseling, 7(26), 1-37.

Frank, H. (2007). Young adults’ relationship with parents and siblings: The role of marital status, conflict and post-divorce predictors. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 34(3/4), 105-124. Retrieved from http://jdr.haworthpress.com

• Hetherington, E.M. & Stanley-Hagan, M. (1999). The adjustment of children with divorced parents: a risk and resiliency perspective. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40 (1), 129-140.

Voorpostel, M., & Poortman, A. R. (2009). Parental divorce and sibling relationships : A research note. Journal of Family Issues, 30(1), 74-91 EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON ADJUSTMENT • Consequences of divorce are difficult to distinguish from the consequences of the changes that occur with divorce. * – Examples: Marital conflict, loss or partial loss of one parent, changes in social and financial status, legal battles. • Upsets the balance and harmony in every aspect of life:
– Social
– Emotional
– Financial
– Ecological
– Role Identity & Responsibility • The formation of new blended families is also part of the longitudal process of which the divorce is only a singular event** • It is important to note that not all adjustments are negative and that all divorces are unique and will produce a variety of outcomes** *(Bryner, 2001)
**(“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012 Adult Adjustment • Increased risk of psychopathology, vehicle accidents, substance abuse, suicide, and even death as compared to the continuously married • Risks are dependent upon factors: gender, economic situation, quality of marriage, and presence of young children
– Increased substance abuse and depression found in women with preschool children • Many physiological effects as well including increased blood pressure, illnesses, and mobility limitations (“Risk and Resilience after Divorce,” 2012) Adult Adjustment (cont..) s social emotional Financial ecological Child Adjustment Divorce in certain circumstances can have positive effects. • Research has consistently shown that children from divorced families exhibit less stereotyped sex behavior, greater maturity, and greater independence*

• Better off if violence or high levels of parental conflict was present in marriage (feelings of relief)**

• Divorce is difficult, confusing, and anxious experience but with time and support from a caring adult most children are able to positively adjust** *(Bryner, 2001)
**(Connolly & Green, 2009) Adult Adjustment • Custodial Parents experience guilt, resentment, lack of identity with shifting roles, responsibilities, and relationships • Concerns about quality of parenting, feel overloaded and socially isolated • Noncustodial parents- mothers twice as likely to remain in contact as fathers (Hetherington & Stanley-Hagan, 1999) Child Adjustment • Divorce is just one step in a series of family transitions that affect family relationships and children adjustment…experiences anteceding the divorce and following transitions will impact the child’s adjustment* • Although outcomes of divorce are not uniform across families, there is a increase of problem behaviors among children from divorced families. ** •High emotions regarding remarriage and reconciliation • 25% vs 10% of problem behaviors against non-divorced households *(Hetherington & Stanley-Hagan, 1999)
**(“Children of Divorce Groups,” 2011) Relationships between Divorced Spouses Child Adjustment (cont..) • Social Consequences:
• Children may have to deal with new home, new schools, new friends
• Might be unsupervised for long periods of time
• Some children are overburdened with household chores and rearing younger siblings Short-term effects of divorce on parents affect parenting quality
At-risk for lower immune system and psychological distress
Exhibit irritability and lack of emotional support toward children
Erratic and punitive discipline Residential Parents and Children Behavioral Consequences:
• more aggressive, impulsive, and antisocial behaviors
• relationship issues with parents
• lower academic achievement, 75% of children show a decrease in academic standing (Bryner, 2001) 1/3 of children of divorce disengage from family earlier Residential Parents and Children cont. ("Extrafamilial relationships and Divorce", 2012) ("Repartnering and Nonmarital Cohabitating Relationships", 2012)
Despite negative stereotypes, nonresidential fathers typically keep regular contact
Increase from 8% in 1976 to 31% in 2002 regular weekly contact, 37% 1976 to 29% 2002 no contact Nonresidential Parents and Children ("Repartnering and Nonmarital Cohabitating Relationships", 2012) Nonresidential Fathers Child Adjustment
Does age play a role in adjustment? Children respond according to their age and maturity at the time of the divorce.

Infants and toddlers have little comprehension that a divorce has occurred and so have no direct reaction.
• Risks include loss of contact with non-custodial parent

Preschoolers understand in concrete terms that their mother and father no longer live together.
• Abandonment issues are common, as well as clinging, acting up, and regression in behavior development
• Preschoolers are prone to self-blame

Older school-aged children are more embarrassed and angrier. They see the world in black and white, right and wrong.
• More prone to take a side of one parent while rejecting the other Nonresidential Mothers (Bryner, 2001) Greater contact and closeness with children than nonresidential fathers Sibling Relationships Child Adjustment Does age play a role in adjustment? Teenagers are at the most risk for maladjusted behaviors. While they are more cognitively capable of understanding the divorce process they remain emotionally immature. • Emotions range from sad to angry, or they often hide their feelings all together Reactions can advance into adulthood regardless of the age of children at the time of divorce. Children of divorce have more difficult experiences with relationships, are less likely to complete a higher education, and more likely to be on welfare at some point in life There may be a loss of contact between grandparents and grandchildren after a divorce
Depression Relationships with Grandparents (Bryner, 2001) Support sought out from family of origin after divorce
Emotional, financial, childcare
Cultural differences Child Adjustment How severe and enduring are the effects of divorce? Children exposed to multiple marital transitions experience the most adverse consequences in adjustment.
• Externalized Disorders: antisocial, aggressive, non-compliant behavior, lack of self regulation, low social responsibility, diminished cognitive achievement
• Internalized Disorders- Depression, Anxiety, loss of self-esteem

Most problems dissolve with time as life stabilizes. COD are initially less socially, emotionally, and academically well-adjusted; however most children become resilient over time. (Hetherington & Stanley-Hagan, 1999) Child Adjustment Which children are vulnerable or resilient? Age-regardless of age divorce is a challenging process for all children
• multilongitudal studies have seen only a small magnitude of difference in age

Gender-boys and girls equally vulnerable to behavior problems
• Boys more prone to antisocial behavior
• Girls more prone to depression
Interesting to note divorce has a positive effect on a small subgroup of both mothers and daughters but rarely found in sons and fathers. They become more responsible and more resilient to adversity.

Personality- intelligent, competent, easy tempered, high self-esteem, internal locus of control, good sense of humor are more likely to adopt to new challenges and distressful situations.
• In fact children with these characteristics may have enhanced future social problem solving skills and adaptability from experiencing moderately stressful divorces Children increase chances of continued conflict between ex-spouses
Relationships with children and finances are popular topics of conflict Only ¼ of divorced couples with children engage in a cooperative, supportive role in terms of child involvement Parenting styles
Mothers = more communication and self-disclosure
Fathers = less stress over childrearing and fewer problems with control and discipline
Authoritative parenting style Treatments
Interventions Counseling • Counseling is believed to help with transitional issues both before and after the divorce

• Most counseling is done in a family setting with each parent having sessions with the children. This more accurately models the post divorce family system.

• Individual therapy for a parent with specific concerns or problems can also be useful in some cases

• Counseling children individually is considered a last resort, appropriate only when the parents cannot or will not participate (Bryner, 2001) Contact more likely to maintain with mediation, low parental conflict, when non residential parent believes he or she has some control in childrearing decisions, and when the child is a boy
Many positive outcomes for children, father-child, and parental relationships with high contact More efforts at monitoring and controlling their children’s
behavior and to be more supportive and sensitive to their needs Less likely to pay child support than nonresidential fathers Sibling studies are rare May have more conflicts because it is modeled from parental conflict
Spillover effect: Greater sibling conflict = greater parental conflict (Voorpostel & Poortman, 2009) Common Goals for COD Groups • gain accurate perspective of process through discussion and information
• to normalize the experiences and feelings around divorce
• provide safe place to talk
• Help Children label; understand and express feelings about divorce
• assist in developing coping skills
• use reality testing as an important focus
• help gain realistic dreams about their family life for the future
• help them focus on the positive of the new family structure

Group Methods: Bibliotherapy, Music, Visual Arts, Writing, Role Playing, Playing Games Siblings may feel the need to “choose sides” during a divorce Siblings may receive differential treatment and differential involvement in parental arguments Positive sibling relationships may buffer negative effects of divorce (“Children of Divorce Groups,” 2011) Divorce Mediation •Mediation focuses on the family as a system that is reorganizing and forming a new structure. Couples who used a neutral third party to resolve conflicts about financial and custodial arrangements were more likely to be communicating on a weekly basis after divorce • Resolving conflict between the two parents is the greatest stress reducer in divorce for both the parents and the children ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012) • Encourages initial settlements, reduces conflict, increases father involvement (no direct effect on mental health of children) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012)
(Frank, 2007) (Bryner,2001) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012)
(Frank, 2007) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012) ("Effects of Divorce on Family Relationships", 2012) Family stress may increase when living with grandparent between mothers and grandmothers Sibling relationship generally distressed, with conflict and negativity, and disengagement and avoidance that dissipates after 4 to 6 years. Sibling relationships continue to be more negative than nondivorced families Opposite-gender relationships affected adversely after divorce
Frank (2007) showed that daughters report worse relationships with fathers after divorce than sons did.
Mother-daughter relationships often warm, compassionate, and close shortly after divorce
Sons shown to have less contact and feel less affection with fathers Remarriage may increase residential mother-child relationship (Frank, 2007) physical role responsibility ("Repartnering and Nonmarital Cohabitating Relationships", 2012) ("The Legal System and Divorcing Families", 2012) ("The Legal System and Divorcing Families", 2012) ("The Legal System and Divorcing Families", 2012) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/divorce-rate-how-well-do-_n_1562900.html
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