Impact of Divorce on children
A divorce can be a very traumatic experience for a family, more so for young children. Not only do they have to face the insecurities arising from a broken family, there can more far reaching impacts on their well being. This paper seeks to review literature to evaluate whether children belonging to divorces families are more likely to suffer through domestic violence. Four research questions were formed to analyze this impact and have been discussed in the following sections.
Question 1: Who are most likely to go through abuse?
According to several researches, there are specific situations of some families such as financial stress, domestic violence, social isolation, marital conflict and single parenthood. These life situations often impact Children in the families and increase the likelihood of mistreatment. In most cases, children living with single parent experience high risk of physical abuse and are neglected endlessly than children who live with both their parents. One reason behind the theory of child abuse in families led by single parent is the lower income in the household. Low income increases the stress of the single parent to bear the sole responsibility of the family which as a result contributes to maltreatment of the children. Studies conducted on mental health of children proved that many children are mentally disturbed by the continuous abuse or neglect by their single parent. According to the research on child abuse, 1,200 children find it hard to heal in the long run (Kocher & Kasser, 2000). Moreover, adults have been found complaining maltreatment at young age and are suffering from high risk of mental sicknesses (de Zulueta, 2006; Gerke, Mazzeo & Kliewer, 2006; Grella, Stein & Greenwell, 2005; Menard, Bandeen-Roch, & Chilcoat, 2004). In United States, the rate at which children undergo depression varies from 2% to 8% and the rates for fretfulness found in children are about 10% of the total US population (Barrios & O’Dell, 1998; Kazdin & Marciano, 1998). According to Kinscherf, Famularo & Fenton (1992), about 36% of children are a victim of stress disorder due to physical abuses.
Question 2: Does race play an important role?
According to National Center for Health Statistics (2000) more than 1 million American children suffers ill-effects of divorces. Moreover, half of the children are living with single-parent right from their childhood (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). Cohen, Brow, Smailes and Johnson (1999) found that children living with single-parent meet the criteria for depressive disorder which is a result of mistreatment due to stress and appalling financial situations. However, according to number of researches that studied the role of race in child maltreatment identified more of black families are reported for child abuse and neglect. Accordingly, there was a higher difference between the numbers of victims of child maltreatment from black families than from white families. However, this disparity in child abuse rates between black children and white children were highly discussed. To understand the situation, several assumptions have been undertaken demonstrating a major factor of discrimination on the basis of color. Firstly, it has been found that racial differences have a major part in parenting and that socioeconomic status of particular groups is correlated with race. Secondly, parenting behavior of groups such as blacks and whites possess racial differences. Lastly, although black families are more likely to be poorer and poverty might be a reason associated to child abuse but there are still lack of evidences to prove that race and ethnicity plays a vital role in child maltreatment.
Question 3: Are children influenced to make decisions in court?
Investigations on Child Custody Disputes have analyzed that children involved in their parents’ custody disputes experience more emotional harm as compared to children not involved in such disputes. Emotional harm can be placed through exposing children to inappropriate content such as discussing financial matters, passing degraded comments, questioning each other’s personal lives by means of children as messengers. However, parents who are separated due to such personal conflicts often fight over child access in family courts. One partner put charge of the dispute on the other and time and again describes those prolonged disputes as a result of poor parenting by the other partner and compels one partner to distrust and divorce the other at the end (Johnston, 1994; Kelly, 2007; Saini 2007). Since these disputes take place in front of the child, they are influenced by the words of one particular partner and are hence compelled to take the decision in their favor. Parents also try to discuss the wrongs of the other partner with their children which resulted in the demise of the relationship however, influencing the decision. Moreover, parents often interfere with children’s rights to meet up the other parent (Saini & Birnbaum, 2007). Although children do not want to make a choice between their parents, majority of children please their parents by giving them the answer they want to hear. For instance, if a parent asks a child about his wish to spend his entire life with or with whom he wants to live, the child will almost certainly address the parent asking the question. According to research, this question puts child under force and hence compels to make a choice under undue pressure. However, child’s preference for the parent should be investigated by the court and should be inspected that the decision is not taken under the influence by a parent.
Question 4: What are the main factors of tough divorce?
A situation of separation arises due to conflicts between the partners (Drapeau, Gagne, Saint-Jacques, Lepine & Ivers, 2009) Parents instantaneous reaction to a complicated situation often causes disputes followed by separation and divorce (Saini, 2012). This however, led them to pull the conflicts to the family courts and fight over the custody of their children (Hetherington & Kelly, 2002). There are several factors associated arising the need for separation. Firstly, spousal abuse physically, emotionally or sexually, is a source that contributes to divorce. Minor disagreements with the partner often influence the decision to separate. Verbal fighting which turns into physical violence and that can no longer be handled carries an option of split-up. Secondly, monetary issues play a vital role in the separation of parents. According to experts, financial stress can adversely strain the relationship which however, in times extends to an extreme conflicting resulting in divorce. There are other conflicts over money which arises due to lack of job prosperities or due to one partner earning more than the other. Lack of financial security often results in disturbing the harmony in the families and affecting the children on the whole. Thirdly, trust issues have a significant impact on the verdict to separate. Partner who is faithful feels insecure and cheated which as a result leads to distrust and feeling of betrayed. This however, becomes difficult for the loyal partner to feel connected with the partner who cheated upon him, leading to divorce. Lastly, partners often feel disconnected in the relationship. This might be due to communication issues or loss of interest in the other partner. Healthy communication among the partners is a way to a successful marriage but due to its absence it becomes difficult to contribute the best efforts in the relationship and leads to subsequent divorce.