Effects Of Remarriage On Children Literature Reviews Examples
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The rate at which divorces were occurring was alarming in the late 20th century and this prompted researchers to investigate the causal factors and the toll of the separation and remarriage on the lives of the children. In the context of children involved in the divorce and remarriage of their parents, they not only include those children born from the previous weddings, but also the children born out of wedlock. In addition, the children group encompasses not only the children under the age of 18, but also those over the age mark (young adults). The aspect of marriage, divorce and remarriage is a sensitive issue in many people and even though it brings about pain and misery in their lives, they rarely wish to share it with others. This would in turn lead to several misgivings on the child’s side of life, especially development physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Many scholars have determined that there is a line that is associating family structures, parental separation and child outcomes. In other words, the children are used to the current family structure in which they were born into and grew up in. In addition, the child has grown to know the two adults as his or her parents. Upon separation from even one of them might be catastrophic for the child in terms of his or her development psychologically, emotionally or even physically. Ross MacKay (2005: 11) outlines several impacts on the child’s development and describes them as either long-term or short-term. Some of them include deteriorating education-wise, social misconducts like cigarette smoking and criminal behaviors, physical deterioration, early sexual orientation and even early marriages. This paper seeks to identify the various effects of divorce and remarriage on the lives of children regardless of their age.
Several other factors are deemed to affect the degree of impact of parental remarriage in children. Sex of the child and the age factors are indeed determinants of the impact. For instance, a girl child in the remarriage situation of her parents might experience a lot of difficulties in the adjustment to the family structural shift (Matthijis 2007: 1080). This would evidently result in heightened stress leading to very poor academic performance and may even lead to indulgence into other extra activities due to peer pressure such as drugs. Age is another factor considering that adolescents prove to be less understanding of the situation than other ages of children. This is attributed to the fact that adolescence is a stage of development and change in family structure induces additional stress to the child making it more disturbing to them than any other age.
Education is a basic need for the children in every age group, whether a toddler or a young adult. Therefore, a child’s education is a very important tool in life considering that this tool will indeed assist him or her to fend for himself in the future. In a normal family setting, the child’s education is at its peak considering that there is little or no stress in his or her life. There are very little distractions in life for such a child and the concentration in learning is tremendous. However, when the parents begin to fight and finally seek to divorce one another, the children hurt so much in the sense that they don’t concentrate on their learning. In fact, they become absent minded in class and they usually fail terribly in their school work and exams for that matter. According to Jeynes (2002: 103), the absence of the natural caregiver that the child is accustomed to is actually one explicable source of stress for a child.
After a parent divorcing and attaining custody of the children, some of them might end up getting married again. The main problem they face is the children to accept the new member of the family. According to Faber and Wittenborn (2010), marital transitions by the parents can prove to be very traumatic for the children and as a result, a heavy burden is placed on their academic, social and emotional development. This implies further that the children’s once peaceful life is in complete shambles as the one person he or she was used to calling “father” or “mother” is no longer there, and instead, a new face from nowhere has taken over that role. It is indeed stressful for the children to develop accordingly in such an environment. From a research by Barry Ham on High school kids, it was deduced that remarriage has indeed impacted negatively on education, with adolescents from intact families out-performing the affected students.
Future relationships of the children
Looking at the social perspective of the children’s lives, remarriage will indeed affect the relationships that a child gets involved in the future. This is attributed to the fact that the child automatically learns from the adults around him or her and derives social skills from what he or she learns at home. Charity begins at home. Psychologically, moral values are developed in the sense that a child perceives right or wrong from the actions of the parents. In other words, at certain stages where the child is developing behavior and differentiating right from wrong, the child ends up taking what the parents do as the ultimate right thing to do in their lives. In this case, when the child learns that the parent divorces with the previous partner and remarries, especially more than once, the child might end up doing the same in future relationships.
Tianyi Yu and Francesca (2007: 88) carried out a study whereby they tried to find out whether or not, divorcing and remarriage has an impact on the future relationships of the children. The results of the study relayed that remarriage is indeed a “potentially stronger predictor of adult children’s later relationship attitudes, behaviors and quality than the parent’s first marriage.” (Tianyi Yu & Francesca 2007: 88) Therefore, this implies that when a parent indulges in new relationships with children, the latter end up acquiring that what the parent has done is morally right and acceptable and in the end, his or her relationships will also not be lasting. In other words, the quality of relationships that a child might develop in future can be determined by the remarriage of the parent, and in this case, the parent’s movement into other marriage more than once might seal a picture of a poor relationship in the child’s future.
Social conduct of the child
Among the short-comings of remarriage is the misbehavior of the child. The children brought into such scenarios of remarriage by their parents might have a toll on them. In such cases, the child might be unable to share with the parents and in so doing become so stressed up and coiled in his or her feelings. This situation leaves the child in a risky position, susceptible to peer pressure, especially when he learns to direct his energy built within from anger or hatred into activities like drinking and smoking. As an impact on the child, the child is forced into corrupt behaviors such as smoking of bhang, using hard drugs and even chewing drug substances and drinking alcohol (Ganong et al. 1984: 389). This kind of behavior usually appears in situations where the teenagers do not take a liking of the new parent that has moved into their family.
According to Ross MacKay (2005: 11), substance usage, cigarette smoking and criminal behavior are some of the social misconducts that a child might end up developing as a result of remarriage. This is usually because of peer pressure and the child directing his anger towards something else maybe because he or she cannot share with the parent. For instance, the child feels that if she lets the parent know of the dislike he or she has for the new parent might end up getting her punished, he or she will find another suiting direction. In this case, the teenager might get involved in destructive activities such as smoking of cigarette and bhang, drinking alcohol and even get involved in criminal activities. Furthermore, the latter can be developed when the new parent is not providing enough as the previous parent used to and this leads to behavior change.
Physical development of the child
The child’s physical development is another issue that is alarming when the aspect of remarriage is being talked about. Family structure is important for the child to feed appropriately. The ripping out of a familial structure from the child’s life and implanting a new figure to replace another is not a light matter. The child might not take a liking to the current situation the parent is putting him or her and might respond in several ways. Stepparents are described as mere “third parties” in a stepfamily who are trying to relate with the child (Sweeny 2010: 672).For instance, the child might refuse to eat, and this can be made worse by the presence of the new parent he or she detests. The child ends up being emaciated as a result of poor nourishment through food. This is attributed further by the emotional damage that the child undergoes as a result of the transition his or her family has gone through, from the divorce to the remarriage.
Physical deterioration might also result from the mishandling of the children by the step-parent which in this case is irresponsible behavior by the parent. The step-parent in this case might be harassing the children by beating them aimlessly or for other personal reasons like the children don’t like him or her as the new parent in the house. In addition, the children might end up refusing food as a result of the endless pains they receive from their new parents, especially step-mothers, or the malicious step-parent might choose to deny the children food. If this is the case, physiological deterioration is inevitable. This aspect of disruption of the normal physical developments goes hand-in-hand with other effects such as poor schooling (education) and even poor psychological development in terms of relationships and such.
According to Sweeny (2010: 673), the family structure is a very important entity in a child’s life and messing with it in terms of divorce and remarriage might end up causing untold pains to the children brought into the marriages. In addition, age of the child and the sex of the child are two factors that may lead to increase impact of the stress placed upon the child’s head. For instance, an adolescent girl child might therefore experience the shattering pains of a marriage than any other child in the family. The effects of remarriage upon the child are indeed tremendous and saddening including the poor performance in school as a result of the stress, substance use such as alcohol, and other illegal drugs, physical deterioration and even emotional and psychological traumas that are very deep. In a nutshell, remarriage puts the children at a very high risk of experiencing the above pains and hence, they suffer.
Ham, D., Barry. 2004. “The Effects of Divorce and Remarriage on the Academic Achievement of High School Seniors.” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 42(1/2): 159-178.
Faber, Anthony J., and Wittenborn, Andrea K. 2010. “The Role of Attachment in Children’s Adjustment to Divorce and Remarriage.” Journal of Family Psychotherapy 21: 89-104.
Ganong, Lawrence H. and Marilyn, Coleman. 1984. “The Effects of Remarriage on Children: A Review of the Empirical Literature.” Family Relations 33(3): 389-406.
Jeynes, William H. 2002. “Does Parental Involvement Eliminate the Effects of Parental Divorce on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents?” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 37(1/2): 101-115.
Matthijs, Kalmijin. 2007. “Gender Differences in the Effects of Divorce, Widowhood and Remarriage on Intergenerational Support: Does Marriage Protect Fathers?” Docial Forces 85(3): 1079-1104.
Mackay, Ross. 2005. “The Impact of Family Structure and Family Change on Child Outcomes: A personal Reading of the Research literature.” Social Policy Journal of New Zealand (24): 11-133.
Sweeny, Megan M. 2010. “Remarriage and Stepfamilies: Strategic Sites for Family Scholarships in the 21st Century.” Journal of Marriage and Family 72: 667-684. DOI: 1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00724.x
Yu, Tianyi, and Adler-Baeder. 2007. “The Intergenerational Transmission of Relationship Quality: The Effects of Parental Remarriage Quality on Young Adults’ Relationships.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 47(3/4): 87-102.
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