A Brief Guide to the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
Divorce is now an important part of American life, and sadly there is little that anyone can do to counteract this. Much study over the past forty years has gone into investigating the existence of negative effects of divorce on children, and the results have been far from encouraging. Many of the negative effects of divorce on children that were initially found were much greater than anyone had ever anticipated, but more recent studies have put those initial reports into perspective. The negative effects of divorce on children are very real, but so are the negative effects of a bad marriage on children, and you should investigate the tenability of your own situation before pursing any action.
Statistics Showing the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
There is a multitude of clear evidence showing the negative effects of divorce on children, effects which range from the short-term to the long-term, and many of which are simply frightening. For starters, doctor P. R. Amato has conducted nearly 100 studies on children of divorce over two decades of work, with a sample size of more than 13,000 children. The results showed that the negative effects of divorce on children include less academic achievement, increased behavioral problems, and lowered self-esteem.
Another study found that more than five years after their parents divorced, children still reported severe loneliness and unhappiness, while evidence points towards parental divorce been a high risk factor for teen suicide, making teens twice as likely to attempt it. Perhaps worst of all is a statistic showing that the negative effects of divorce on children, particularly the psychological consequences, were more severe than the negative effects of a parental death. That’s right, one study showed that your child will turn out healthier if you die than if you divorce your spouse.
Understanding the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
As you may perhaps suspect, such horrifying statistics may serve better hyperbole than slivers of reality, distorting what are the nevertheless negative effects of divorce on children. There is still significant evidence that the majority of children of divorce never become so-called “problem children.” A study by Mavis Hetherington showed that roughly 30% of children of divorce developed seriously problems versus 10% of children whose parents stayed married. This is a significant different, but it still means that 70% of children remained healthy.
Repeated evidence has indicated that the negative effects of divorce on children are worse for girls than boys. In the Hetherington study, for instance, 26% of boys from divorced parents developed problems versus 34% of boys. Furthermore, a Finnish study in 2011 of 35 year-olds from divorced families showed that the greatest and most widely reported negative effect of divorce on children was the deterioration of the mother-daughter bond. Working to keep the parent-child bond strong and making sure that the trauma associated with divorce (money problems, moving, fighting) are kept to a minimum will decrease the negative effects of divorce on children.