Divorce: In recent years the rate of divorce has increased. Subsequently, the separation of parents affects many children. Separation is often a means of escaping from a failing marriage, whereby couples stay away from each other to facilitate personal well-being. Despite being an escape route from a bad marriage, divorce has several psychological, physical, economic, and emotional effects on both adults and children. Children of divorced parents often alienate themselves from society and display worrying habits like drug and substance abuse, and irresponsible sexual activities, among others. The adults also go through a tough time adjusting to life without the other partner. The act weakens the family structure in the society while affecting the physical, social, emotional, and academic well-being of children of divorced parents.
Divorce has several consequences on society as it weakens the family structure and causes increased mental and emotional health risks. More so, the affected parties face economic challenges due to reduced household income. On individuals, divorce affects children in different ways. For instance, some children’s physical health deteriorates, and others are emotionally distressed. Consequently, such problems may lead to a decline in academic performance. Furthermore, children of divorced parents display psychological withdrawal as they lose both their economic and emotional security. Often, children blame themselves for their parent’s separation. As such, the act has dire consequences on both individuals and society; hence, better policies are required to mitigate these effects.
Historically, the 1857 matrimonial Causes Act allowed divorce due to adultery only. A decade later, the 1969 Divorce Reform Act was passed to allow divorce after two years of separation, thus increasing the rate of divorce. There is a need to promote healthy marriages as the act, and abusive unions affect children and adults significantly. Healthy marriages result in better families, physical, emotional, and social well-being.
The first article is ‘Impact of parental separation or divorce on school performance in preterm children: A population-based study’ by Nusinovici et al. It hypothesizes that divorce causes a significant decrease in academic achievement for preterm children at the age of five years. The study also speculates that the effects on academic performance for these children vary depending on age at the time of separation of parents (Nusinovici et al., 2018). The study employed a quantitative approach using a questionnaire that evaluated infants who had optimal neurodevelopmental outcomes by the age of two to assess their abilities as they reached five years. According to the results of the study, children with parents that divorce between three to five years of their birth are most likely to register poor academic performance. For these children, divorce affects their levels of motivation, autonomy, and manual dexterity (Nusinovici et al., 2018). Therefore, children whose parents separate while they are younger than five years old are likely to perform poorly academically.
The second article, ‘Impact of Divorce and Loss of Parental Contact on Health Complaints among Adolescents’ by Reiter, Hjorleifsson, Breidablik & Meland postulates that conflicts and loss of parental contact after a divorce lead to mental health concerns. The study was conducted through a cross-sectional survey, and the results indicated that health complications of children of divorced parents increased with the loss of parental contact. However, there were minimal complications in cases where parental contact was maintained (Reiter, Hjorleifsson, Breidablik & Meland, 2013). The study’s limitation is that it ignored other factors like withdrawal from society, feelings of guilt, and substance abuse as some of the mental health implications of divorce. No contradictions were recorded.
The third article is‘Young Women’s Perceptions of Parents’ Romantic Relationships in the Context of Parental Divorce’, authored by Collardeau & Ehrenberg. The article outlines that young women have varied descriptions of their parents’ romantic relationships before divorce. These relationships reflect differently in their adult lives (Collardeau & Ehrenberg, 2018). The study was conducted through interviews on young women aged between 11 to 17 years. The results indicated that their perceptions were based on the presence or absence of couple-like behavior between their parents before divorce (Collardeau & Ehrenberg, 2018). Consequently, these young women were affected in their future relationships by what they witnessed during childhood.
‘Does Parental Divorce Have an Effect on a Child’s Education’ by Odenweller describes the effects of divorce on children’s education. The study focused on children living with fighting parents (Odenweller, 2014). The study used open-ended interviews, and the results indicated that children exposed to these conditions performed poorly academically. In essence, those exposed to fighting parents had the worst outcomes as compared to those whose parents were divorced (Odenweller, 2014). The study concludes that the effects on academic performance were less dire for children of divorced parents compared to those of fighting ones.
The article ‘The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce,’ illustrates that children from stable families perform better physically, emotionally, and academically (Anderson, 2014). The study proved that marital violence affects children and may have negative long-term consequences. For instance, children exposed to these conditions never recovered fully from the trauma and frequently experienced the feeling of parental loss (Anderson, 2014). The study advocated for the need of policies to promote healthy marriages, hence proper development on the part of the children.
These articles support
each other in that they all highlight the consequences of divorce on children’s
physical, emotional, social, and academic performance. The findings underscore
the need for policies to shield children from these consequences. Divorce
should be handled in a manner that ensures
children are not adversely affected. While working on this project, I learned
that divorce affects not only adults but
also the children whose physical, emotional, social, and academic development
are significantly affected. This project reflects on my life as I have a friend
whose parents went through a divorce. I now understand why he was withdrawn
from his peers and realized that with enough help, he could stop blaming
himself for the separation of his parents and, instead, develop a healthy life.
My resolve as a result of this project is to maintain a happy marriage to
prevent my future children from undergoing the challenges associated with
divorce as described above.
Anderson, J. (2014). The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce. The Linacre Quarterly, 81(4), 378–387. doi: http://doi.org/10.1179/0024363914Z.00000000087
Collardeau, F., & Ehrenberg, M. (2018). Young Women’s Perceptions of Parents’ Romantic Relationships in the Context of Parental Divorce: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 59(8), 653-669. doi: 10.1080/10502556.2018.1466257
Nusinovici, S., Olliac, B., Flamant, C., Müller, J., Olivier, M., & Rouger, V. et al. (2018). Impact of parental separation or divorce on school performance in preterm children: A population-based study. Plos One, 13(9), e0202080. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202080
Odenweller, B. (2014). Does Parental Divorce Have an Effect on a Child’s Education? (Undergraduate). Bridgewater State University.
Reiter, S., Hjorleifsson, S., Breidablik, H., & Meland, E. (2013). Impact of divorce and loss of parental contact on health complaints among adolescents. Journal of Public Health, 35(2), 278-285. doi: 10.1093/PubMed/fds101