The Effects Of Divorce On Children From A Sociological Perspective Research Paper Sample
Divorce is a major issue in the society. People have the right to be happy and enjoy their lives. Most of the people who resort to divorce are in pursuit of their happiness (Eshleman & Bulcroft, 2009). Couples arrive at the decision to divorce when they see that their marriage is destined for disaster. The parents are able to lead better lives when they divorce each other, but the people who suffer a lot from divorce are the children.
Divorce is known to cause some sociological issues in children whose parents have divorced. Sociologists have carried out research and discovered that the sociological effects of divorce on children are dependent on the age of the child when the divorce occurs. The personality, gender, support of friends and family, and the number of conflicts the child has with the parents play a role on the effects of the divorce on a child.
Infants are not in a position to understand the conflict that exists between parents, but they are able to react to the changes the see in their parents in terms of energy and mood (Boundless, 2015). Effects in infants may be indicated by an increase in the buildup of spit and a loss of appetite. The infants are able to study their parents and know that there is something wrong. The reactions by the infants are caused by psychological uneasiness. Although the infants are not in a position to fully understand what is going on, they are able feel that things have changed.
Pre-school children aged from 3 to 5 years tend to think that they are the ones who caused the divorce (Boundless, 2015). They believe that they root cause of the divorce. They start remembering the mischief they carried out and they might even start apologizing with an attempt to make their parents get back together. The divorce affects these children and is reflected in some of the behaviors they adopt. A child may start holding onto an old toy and never letting go. Taking the toy from that child will result in a lot of cries because the child will be feeling as if he or she is losing a parent again.
Another behavior is holding onto a baby blanket. The baby blanket reminds the child of the good memories and family stability that he or she had experienced before. The blanket provides comfort and acts as a source of reassurance that everything will be fine. The child will rely on the blanket as a source of solace. The baby blanket becomes one of those items that can never be left behind even when the family is going for vacation.
The effect of divorce on some preschool children is wetting the bed (Boundless, 2015). The children wet the bed every night. The parent who is staying with the child will ensure that the child does not take any fluids before bedtime so as to prevent the child from wetting the bed. Bed wetting can be due to fear that is developed by the child. A family with both parents provides security and stability. Divorce means that the child can now stay with only one parent (Demo & Acock, 1988). The child is not used to this kind of life and he develops fear because he feels that the house is not safe with only one parent. The child wets the bed because he is afraid of going to the toilet.
Some children become depressed due to the divorce and they isolate themselves from other children. The other children interpret the self-isolation as being timid and start making fun of these children. The preschool children tend to become uncooperative when asked to execute some tasks. They also become very angry when asked to do something.
The school aged children need to involve themselves in activities that include other children so that it may become easier for them to cope with the divorce. Playing or engaging in interactive activities enables these children to shift their focus from the feelings of pain caused by their parents’ divorce (Skolnick & Skolnick, 2013). School aged children always hope that their parents can get back together.
Adolescents experience some of the feelings that the school aged children experience. The adolescents feel depressed, afraid, angry, guilty, and lonely. They tend to feel that they need to take up some of the responsibilities that have been left for one parent to handle (Eshleman et al., 2009). Divorce means that the parent who is left with the children will have to perform all the activities that they shared with the other spouse. The adolescents in this family feel that it is their responsibility to help out their single parent. They feel that they need to take care of their siblings as well as take up new chores. The divorce may also change their attitude towards marriage. They tend to doubt whether marriage is meant for them in the future.
The children of divorced parents who belong to families that are unhappy tend to have greater chances of acquiring behavioral problems compared to those children who live in families that have both parents (Demo et al., 1988). Some of the children from families with both parents may not have happy families, but their chance to acquire behavioral problems is minimal compared to children from divorced families.
Research shows that the children who are from divorced families have higher chances of being abused compared to children in families that have both parents. Children from single families are also more likely to experience poverty compared to full families. Poverty makes the children engage in behaviors that will enable them to earn some money or food. Some of these behaviors include immorality.
There are times when divorce can be more beneficial to the children especially if one of the parents was abusive. However, a divorce that has issues of high conflict may be very harmful to the children especially during the transition periods. The transition period may involve ferrying the children from one household to another (Skolnick et al., 2013). The constant migration is harmful to the children because it affects their social lives. It is worse if the parents are involved in fighting and using abusive language within the vicinity or hearing of children. These children suffer a lot and it affects them psychologically. Parents are advised to minimize the number of transitions so that the children are not affected (Skolnick et al., 2013). The parents are also advised to spend more time with their children so that the children do not feel as if they are being abandoned.
Parents are advised to have a good divorce so that it does not affect the children. It is believed that good divorces are better than high conflict divorces. However, good divorces also affect the overall wellbeing of the children as well as the success of their future marriage. Research shows that children who belonged to families that had good divorces have unsuccessful marriages. A study into this case indicates that the children who come from families that have had good divorces undermine the institution of marriage and find it easy and happy to be single parents (Glenn, 2006).
There are cases where children grow up with single parents and they come to admire their parents for managing to be there for them even if they are divorced. Such children grow up feeling the love of both parents because the two parents had a good divorce. They see their parents as happy people living separate lives.
There are times when the relationship of divorced parents becomes better than when they were married. They end up becoming good friends. The children end up having more fun with them as divorced parents compared to when they were married. Such children end up believing that divorced parents are better than married parents. The overall effect is that these children will have unsuccessful marriages because they will be more inclined towards having a good divorce rather than holding onto a sad marriage. Sometimes the issues in the marriage are minor and can be sorted out by the couple, but the experience of living happily in divorced families makes these young adults opt for divorce (Glenn, 2006).
Research shows that the children who are most affected by divorce are those who have lived in families that do not display their conflicts (Glenn, 2006). These children tend to be surprised by the announcement of a divorce by their parents. It is traumatic for them because they did not see the divorce coming. They always assumed that their parents were happy.
Children from divorced families are said to experience a condition known as sleeper effect (Glenn, 2006). This condition means that they cope with the divorce as children and are not able to know the extent of damage the divorce has caused them. The major symptoms of the condition hit these children when they move away from home and try to form their own families or intimate relationships. These children are unable to trust their partners and do not have any idea of how to create a successful marriage.
Some adolescents blame their parents for the divorce (Glenn, 2006). They look at the weaknesses exhibited by both parents and draw conclusions on what caused the divorce. These children draw lessons about failure in marriages by looking at their parents’ causes of divorce. The children then grow older with the intention of making their future marriages successful. They believe that a marriage can be successful if both parents put in a lot of efforts and try to make the marriage work. They also believe that spouses should acknowledge their faults and try to correct them instead of trying to find faults in their spouses.
The effects of divorce on children can affect them in their social lives. Divorce is meant to make the parents live better lives because they cannot put up with their spouses, but the happiness of their children is also at stake. The children can end up becoming depressed, angry, antisocial, withdrawn, afraid, uncooperative, embarrassed, and unhappy due to their parents’ divorce. The children of divorce should receive counseling so that they can positively adjust to the divorce. Both parents should be there for their children so that they do not feel abandoned. It is important for the children to know that their parents love them even if they are divorced (Glenn, 2006).
Children from divorced family should participate in activities that involve other children so that they can shift their focus from the pain of divorce (Boundless, 2015). Good divorce can impact the perspective of children in regard to the institution of marriage. The children who tend to undermine marriage should be counseled and told that marriage is good. They need to be shown that it is possible to have a successful marriage. The children should also be made aware that the failure of their parents’ marriage is not an indication that their marriage will also fail (Glenn, 2006).
In conclusion, the effects of divorce on children depend on the age of the children when the divorce occurs. Small children are not able to understand by they adopt behaviors that show that they are aware that things have changed. Older children feel a lot of pain and exhibit various responses. The effects of divorce children contain both positive and negative aspects. The negative aspects are more than the positive aspects and the children require a lot of guidance for them to handle these aspects.
Some negative aspects such as depression will require the children to see a therapist for them to cope with the divorce. Feelings of pain can be reduced and eliminated by encouraging the children from divorced families to engage in activities that involve other children. One positive aspect of divorce includes creating a happy environment for the children especially if the marriage had domestic violence. Another positive aspect is that some children from divorced families use their parents’ divorce as a learning experience that aids them in creating successful marriages in the future.
Skolnick, A. S. & Skolnick, J. H., (2013). Family in Transition (17th ed.). New York: Pearson.
Eshleman, J. R. & Bulcroft, R. A., (2009). The Family (12th ed.). New York: Pearson.
Boundless, (2015). Children of Divorce and Impact of Divorce. Boundless. Retrieved from: https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/family-12/divorce-95/children-of-divorce-and-impact-of-divorce-544-10217/
Glenn, N., (2006). The Divorce Dilemma. The University of Texas. Retrieved from: http://www.utexas.edu/features/2006/divorce/
Demo, D. H. & Acock, A. C., (1988). The Impact of Divorce on Children. UNCG. Retrieved from: http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/d_demo_impact_1988.pdf
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