The most basic effects of separation on kids or young adults incorporate an effect on their psychological changes, proper social skills, scholarly accomplishments and even behavior impacts that can carry on over the span of adulthood. The most recognized effects that divorce has on kids present themselves in the way that children will begin to reprimand themselves for the separation, there is a sense of vulnerability in elements of life that were previously concrete, there are social issues that emerge, and the fear of the unknown turns into a test to adjust to the stability between parents.
People are commonly known to think over half of marriages end in divorce, this has actually been disproven in recent years. Studies from the University of Maryland show that the divorce rate has decreased about 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, but divorce and separation trends among generations have been changing (Steverman 1). Baby boomers are more likely to get divorced than younger couples nowadays because of the differences in relationship approaches. Boomers were more likely to get married at a younger age and did not typically consider financial situations, mental health or happiness, and women were less likely to have a college degree. In relationships today, people typically wait to marry after both parties have received a college degree or have a steady job to support their partner and essentially a future family (Steverman 1). Several factors play into divorce of all ages including education level and income, so millennials are actually being recognized for decreasing divorce rates in America due to these circumstances and today’s social influences (Troy 3).
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Subsequently, divorce rates seem to be higher in boomers and can typically be assumed that children are more than likely involved in these messy divorces. Despite overall divorce rates decreasing, it is estimated that over forty percent of British and American children live in a single parent or divorced households by the age of sixteen (Morin 1). Every child is different and some may bounce back from a parental separation more quickly than others, but it seems that the first year or two after divorce is usually the most difficult adjustment time for adolescents in split homes (Morin 2). Many children of all ages suffer from something called divorce stress and it may present itself in many different ways. According to Kathleen O’Connell, some may have a “fear of loneliness, rush themselves to independence, have trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, tantrums”, and several other symptoms which vary among different ages (“Identifying Divorce Stress in Children 1). Every separation situation varies among families, and many forms of counseling and outside help are also available to children if they feel that there is nothing their parents can do to help them (Bonnel 2). Some children want attention and reassurance from their parents and others may want to distance themselves from the situation altogether, but varied reaction is always normal for adolescents.
Additionally, while living in divorced or single parent homes may have a negative impact on families, especially during the immediate separation process, it can also have some positive effects on parents and children in the long run. Children may feel that their home is no longer a stressful environment and be more comfortable spending time at home if parents who constantly bickered before a separation are no longer in a constant battle. Children may grow closer to a single parent and be more appreciative for their parents’ hard work and dedication to giving them a better life as an individual rather than making everyone unhappy by staying in a harmful marriage. Parents’ mental health and happiness typically improves after a separation as well as their hope for a better future for themselves and their children despite the difficulty of the situation (Cahn 1).
On the contrary, even though a smooth transition from living in a two parent home to a single parent home is possible, not everyone is lucky enough to have a loving environment surrounding a divorce and can suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. For instance, Edmund Kemper, known as the “Co-ed Killer” was a serial killer from Burbank, California who came from an abusive single parent home, as do many well-known killers from around the country (“Edmund Kemper Biography” 1). He had a close relationship with his father, but his parents divorced when he was young and he was forced to live with his abusive mother, who was also an alcoholic (Gilligan 1). Years later after leaving his mother’s home, he lived with his grandparents for some time and at the age of fifteen murdered both his grandmother and grandfather after a disagreement just out of curiosity as to what murdering would feel like (Gilligan 1). He was admitted to Atascadero State Hospital for paranoid schizophrenia, where he spent six years and was released at the age of 21 in 1969 (“Edmund Kemper Biography” 1). He returned to his mother’s home to discover that she had just ended her third marriage, and went on to claim eight more victims-including his mother (Gilligan 1). He was put on trial in October 1973 and sentenced to life in prison for his grisly crimes (“Edmund Kemper Biography” 1). All of Kemper’s victims were women, with the exception of his grandfather, and the trauma from his mother’s abuse and parents’ divorce triggered his desire to kill solely young women. This case is extreme as mental illness is involved, but proof that divorce and harmful single parent homes can carry over negatively into the children’s lives as they continue to grow older.
To conclude, children require emotional support systems. They blossom with structure and the stability offered by the people who raised them, giving them the security of certainty and security. A positive grown-up role model should surround the child consistently if available in the middle of the divorce and the period directly after the divorce to give the child great vibrations and constant support. Change is hard and the dread of the unknown can be troublesome for children to deal with individually. Divorce may be the path of least conflict for the parents however, it is an open way to disaster inside the children’s mental and social well being. In any case, it is pivotal for parents who have settled on separation to remember that their divorce is not just about them, but their children are also entangled in the picture.
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