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Effects of Divorce on Children

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marieanne l

on 11 March 2015

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Transcript of Effects of Divorce on Children

Effects of Divorce on Children
3-5 year olds (Preschool)
in the eyes of the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament which can only be dissolved through annulment otherwise you are still considered married
Marieanne & Adrian
Often react in anger or sadness
respond to fear and feel anxious and guilty
young daughters may cling onto fantasies that their father will come back
about 1/2 of all divorces occur in families with children under 6
separation anxiety
6-8 years old
tend to be the most distressed age group by separation
may feel rejected if a parent leaves
long for other parent figures
easily drawn into parents' conflicts and are very vulnerable to loyalty conflicts
use magical thinking -> fantasy of reconciliation, fantasy of being central
9-12 years old
Primary feeling is anger and they're vulnerable
may reject out of home fathers who try to spend time with them
1/2 of the children in this age group's school performance drops
may lose their own childhood
put more of a front to cope with the shock of their parent's separation
tend to feel shame
13-18 years old (Adolescent)
may feel betrayed
spend less time at home and may even withdraw from friends
cope by distancing themselves from tension b/w parents
fear that parent's marriage failure may influence their ability to have a lasting marriage and going to post secondary
serious problems: lack of parental supervision or monitoring may lead to delinquency, drug use, school failure, sexual activity
some focus on future plans and ambitions but others may feel discouraged
Short term
suffer from anxiety, depression, and emotional disorders
behavioural problems -> aggressiveness, hyperactivity, hostility
more likely to become young offenders
more likely to do poorly or drop out of school
experience social problems
Long term
likely to have children out of wedlock
lower levels of education
experience teen pregnancy
marital problems
tend to have more adjustment problems compared to girls
more behavioural problems at school and home especially when dad isn't involved-> trouble with friends, poor school achievements
tend to lose their primary identification figure and source of discipline when dad moves out -> receive more anger and criticism from custodial mom
researchers found that there is more anger and conflict b/w sons, son-daughter relationships than b/w sisters
2 years after the divorce, females tend to be well adjusted
conflict between mom and daughter escalates -> likely to develop problems in romantic relationships especially if dad is not involved and mom cannot discipline effectively & daughter has no or less supervision
tend to have sex at an earlier age and with more partners than daughters in intact families -> likely to get married at a younger age and become divorced -> greater academic problems -> occupational underachievement
"I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me"
"I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents. I couldn't face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years because of that"
A. Denial
-usually occurs in young children
-accompanied with fantasizing
-refusal to accept that one parent has withdrawn
B. Abandonment
-children will worry about who will take care of them
-afraid that they will be abandoned by one or both parents
-loyalties b/w both parents can be compromised
C. Preoccupation w/ information
-they want to know what's happening in the family and how it affects them
D. Anger and Hostility
-may express anger towards the people around them
-school performance may be impaired
E. Depression
-may become depressed, socially withdrawn, and self-harm
F. Immaturity/Hypermaturity
1) children may behave like a baby -> baby talk, wet bed
2) parentified -> may take on the parent role
G. Preoccupation and Reconciliation
-act in ways that will force the parents to interact
-they still see parents engaged in an intimate relationship
H. Blame and Guilt
-may feel responsible for parent's divorce -> esp. when children sees or hears parents negotiating on when they're going to see them
-may try to bargain to get their parents back together
-may even refuse to go w/ the other parent
I. Acting Out
-often act out their anger or parents anger
-often take sides with parents they are currently with
"If you die you're completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I'm not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I've got"
2384: Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to
break the contract
, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does
injury to the covenant of salvation
, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union,
even if it is recognized by civil law
, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and
permanent adultery

2385: Divorce is immoral also because it
introduces disorder into the family and into society
. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.
Do the pros outweigh the cons in divorce?
What are your circumstances on getting a divorce?
3 major factors that affect the child's adjustment:
1) quality of parent-child relationship
2) intensity and duration of the divorce
3) parent's ability to focus on the needs of their children
Custody and financial implications
there are many economic hardships as divorced families have to divide property and assets, change residence, school, and or work
paying child support for nonresidential parent
many couples become hostile, angry, and bitter when it comes to financial implications -> important to separate resentment and focus on catering to children's needs -> it affects the child if parents continually argue over money
children often adjust better when their visits from non-custodial parent are regular, predictable, and doesn't occur in undesirable circumstances
they also adjust better when custodial parent support and encourage their children to maintain a relationship with non-custodial parent
both parents should not be openly critical of one another or interrogate the child about their visits with the other parent
parent should be sensitive about their child's needs
should not result into loyalty conflicts
another "should not":
prominent risk factors:
socioeconomic status
parental conflict
parent-child relationship before divorce
parent fulfilling their roles as parents
ongoing and open conflict
perceived loss of non-custodial parent
- children could be escaping
for a hostile, violent and abusive
- if children see that their parents are
happy and adjusted to their separate
lives, they too can be happier
- Sometimes, "staying for the kids" is
not always a proper choice. Unhealthy
marriages are not only harmful to the
parents, but the kids as well
- Parents could actually focus on the kids more,
with shared custody. Children could focus on each
parent more and vice-versa. This is because the
parental roles aren't as diffused between
the couple compared to when they were living together.
- Children can develop skills, once they overcome psychological stress. They can develop these skills, due to the fact that they need to learn how to adapt to a challenging style of life.
- Communication Skills
-Organization Skills
-Time management Skills
-Relationship Skills

- children may develop loyalty conflicts between parents.
- children experience severe emotional and psychological stress.
- children experience negative effects and these effects may either be short term or long term.
- this psychological effects will also affect the child's lifestyle ie. school performance,
-child may even grow up and go into delinquency or substance abuse
- children may struggle in developing skills if the stress is not over come.
- children may have struggles in planning for their future
- Children may have problems in maintaining relationships and can result to marriage problems, if they do choose to get married.

What do you think the pros and cons of divorce are?
Do you agree or disagree with the Catholic perspective?
Do you agree with this statement?

"Divorce is very harmful to children. Unless living in an abusive
situation, parents should remain married for the sake of the children."
How children manage parental conflict
1.Maneuver – children learn different ways to maneuver conflict in order to get what they want and they become indirect and manipulative.
2.Equilibrium – they see both sides of parental conflict. They intellectually and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each parent’s position.
3.Merge – they completely merge or agree with whichever parent they are with.
4.Diffuse – they become emotionally disorganized. Mavis Hetherington found that children tend to react in 2 ways:
boys tend to be aggressive, impulsive, and have trouble in school
boys and girls learn to use their own parents' disagreement and arguments for their own personal gain
Parental Alienation Syndrome
A parent (often the custodial parent) is convinced that the child is better off without the other parent which is constantly shown in the parent's attitude and behaviour toward the alienated parent
The alienating parent is the parent that sends these messages to the child and the alienated parent is the parent that is alienated as a result
the parent withdraws from the child when the child talks to the other parent
in these situations, children may lose a parent altogether and learn that their independent thoughts and feelings are not important.
How conflict affects children
children develop emotional, behavioural, and social problems
if fighting is severe and extends for a long period of time there is distress in behaviour (
) and their emotions (
children who internalize problems have difficulty with anger and aggression and dealing with peers and adults
children who internalize problems are fearful, withdrawn, uncommunicative, and anxious about expressing their feelings
if problems are not attended to, children are more damaged and some of their symptoms can be similar to post traumatic disorder
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