The United States has the highest rate of divorce in the world. Notwithstanding, a lot of couples in other countries still believe divorce is the only way to continue their lives and be happy. Others, however, fear the ordeal. Divorcees tend to suffer an increase in depression and loss of hope, dreams, finances, lifestyle and even child custody.
Aid for Dependent Children estimates that 50% of all children in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asian countries are a product of divorce. They also think that their resources are drained by the urgent unattended needs of divorced and single-parent families, and this includes the cost of child support. Every person who has gone through a divorce has needs that might not be financial. They could be psychological, social, emotional, and are peculiar to the man, woman, child, extended family, friends, and society.
Although women initiate the divorce process more than men, the effect of a divorce on men can be very surprising. Psychologists have observed that men remarry more quickly. This might be because they have learned the best way to start a new life or they are purely narcissists who are seeking every opportunity to team up with a female and dominate her.
Also, men try their best and are more ready to save a marriage than women. A man can go extreme lengths to retain his power and position in a family. They tend to think of a solution in order to move on with the relationship, unlike women. Another impact divorce has on men is that they find it difficult to adjust after losing a relationship. They hide this by entering into another relationship. Thus, they try to save the loss of intimacy they used to experience.
Other reasons can be loss of social status; a feeling of being an incomplete parent especially when the woman gains custody of the children. If the man is the one who has the greater role of supporting the family, the effect of divorce on him will be increased financial burden. Although some men will want to shy away from the responsibilities that follow divorce, others will like the opportunity to be part of the child’s life and derive the happiness and satisfaction of being a good father
The effects of divorce on women are numerous. The positive outcome is that they will experience less stress in their lives. They will also enjoy the single life for a while, unlike men who when unhappy, quickly seek another relationship to fill the vacuum. Most women seem pleased after a divorce because of the feeling that they have surmounted a problem that threatened their joy, this has made them insist on divorce.
The self-esteem of a woman after a divorce is noticeably higher. She will wear her head high for being able to leave the relationship in one piece. She might boast of the things she did for her ex-husband even if it isn’t true. She will make the whole world see how financially buoyant she was and how well she took care of the man. She might take on new roles in life because she has extra time to make better decisions and feels she is not answerable to anybody. With the new turn, positive changes in her finances, health, and beauty might become visible.
Some women call it ‘the natural glow’ or ‘the natural me.’ This high self-esteem normally makes a woman very successful in most of her endeavors. She will try as much as possible not to rely on welfare, family packages or social support system to stabilize. She feels all her actions are putting her on a pedal for great endeavors. The woman feels relieved and shows happiness whenever she talks about her ex and how she survived the marriage.
However, as she excels in life, there is a negative impact the divorce will have on her as well. The first is the fear of social stigma. Many women fear divorce, not because of the other unpleasant issues but because people might no longer accept them into society. Also, other families might use them as examples of failed relationships. Women without a basic education suffer this more. Another problem a woman might have after a divorce is the lack of funds to meet simple necessities.
The psychological association of the USA believes that 60% of people living in poverty are divorced women. When a single woman places her child in a support center, the chances that she will experience discrimination are very high, unlike men who will receive sympathy, support, and compassion. The alarming thing is that women are the ones that castigate other women who have divorced and have a child without asking the reason why the divorce happened.
Since research has shown that more women and children suffer the effects of divorce, many psychologists have counseled women who experienced divorce-related stigma. The counseling aims to keep the woman strong. It lets her understand that she can survive the split and gives her a reason to find her feet again. Just as divorce has untold effects on women, its impact on children cannot be overemphasized.
Psychologists used to discourage divorce when couples have children because the children might experience severe depression consistent with coming from a broken home. The gloominess increases when kids in the neighborhood or school insult a child from divorced parents. A lot of children find it difficult to recover from the mental assault associated with the castigation. There are cases where children have stayed away from school and many social and educational events for fear of being branded. They might also not be able to speak publicly about their parents. Such children have been known to abuse or violently attack those who insult them on account of their family history.
Consequently, they get into bigger troubles and in many cases are expelled from school. This violent behavior is usually apparent when the divorce between the parents is made public. When a child is not exhibiting these violent traits, he or she might lag behind educationally. Research has shown that children from a divorced home tend to perform poorly in school. This is attributable to poor communication and a feeling of uncertainty about their future. With the home lacking a peaceful atmosphere conducive to studying, the child concludes there is no reason to study.
Children from divorced homes are also known to keep friends that influence them negatively. Meanwhile, what the child is really looking for is a feeling of wholeness. Many divorced parents say things like “you are behaving like your mother” or “you and your father have the same annoying character that pisses me off.” This makes the child give attention to people or social groups that accept him or her often with shows of affection. These social groups might introduce the child to illicit drugs, alcohol, smoking, and in the worst-case scenario, armed robbery. The child might not like the lifestyle of these groups but, seeing no reason to return to a home where there is no love or care, he or she gives in.
By the time many children desire to leave the group and do something better with their lives, it is often too late and they are forced to pay a bitter price. Research shows that 85% of children in juvenile prison are from broken homes or families where parents argue constantly, are divorced, fight each other in the presence of the children, and use words that make the children uncomfortable at home.
Often, children from these types of homes get into trouble with the law. Some become suicidal following physical and mental abuse by a divorced parent. They feel there is no reason to live and look for ways to end it all. They do not want to grow up to be like their divorced parents or fear they might wind up in a relationship that will make them perpetually sad. The child might also have the urge to commit suicide, to teach the parents a lesson. Furthermore, he or she might decide to murder a parent seen as the reason for constant arguments at home.
According to research, men whose childhood was full of pre-divorce conflict by parents or whose parents finally divorced have a high tendency of not wanting to marry. The reverse is the case for women; they believe they will find a man better than their father or have a sweeter marriage than their parents had. Young women from divorced homes often take their time before saying, “Yes.” They carry out thorough research on the men and keep stressing that they will never divorce but rather learn to solve conflicts amicably. This emphatic ‘no divorce’ is simply to hush the childhood experiences they had and would not want to replay, not even in the lives of their own children. This is not the case with men. They will rather leave the relationship and have absolute freedom to start life again when it seems their partners no longer understand them. They will seize every opportunity to be happy after experiencing a childhood filled with arguments between parents and a divorce that left a partner miserable for a long time.
Some children, despite suffering from a divorce they witnessed when they were young, moved on and succeeded as adults. This is mostly attributed to effective communication, care, and love from a partner who won child custody. According to the American Psychological Association, children’s reaction to the divorce of parents depends on three major factors. The first is the quality of their relationship with any of their parents before the split. Chances are very high that a child will attach to the spouse that shows more love and commitment to their well-being.
Nobody likes to be reprimanded even if a wrong action is taken. But when a parent corrects the wrong of a child in a loving and caring way, making it apparent that errors are part of life, the child, most likely, will follow that parent. Also, if the parent that shows less love wins child custody, the child might become abusive, violent and have low self-esteem. Such a child would treasure an opportunity to visit the parent that shows more love, care and seems to be understanding.
The second factor is the intensity and duration of the pre-divorce conflict. As discussed earlier, if the duration is long-drawn, the child might seek love and affection by joining good or bad social groups. The intensity might also make the child violent or exhibit similar characters in adulthood. The last factor is hinged on the parent’s ability to attend to the needs of the child during and after the divorce. This is why most psychologists argue that the child suffers more when a couple goes their separate ways due to irreconcilable differences.
Research conducted in ten high schools in the United Kingdom and the United States has shown that boys have greater academic adjustment issues than girls when their parents go through a divorce, while girls have higher chances of getting involved in romantic relationships that may lead to teenage pregnancies. The research also notes that boys tend to show their anger, frustration and hurt by becoming violent and physically hit their mates, parents, and friends.
This is because of the images they absorbed into their minds during a divorce. Again, both boys and girls show signs of malnutrition, have serious changes in daily eating, sleeping patterns, and headaches. The changes in eating are usually the result of limited finances experienced by the parent. The child might also accompany the parent to his or her workplace and might be engaged in child labor.
Starting a new relationship with a step-parent might not entirely soothe the effects of a divorce in the life of a child. Some parents assume they will live as one big happy family when a new mum or dad is introduced. The likelihood of child disliking the new replacement, however, is very high. Some step-parents might also want to take care of their immediate offspring rather than give attention to another child even though they are married to that child’s parent. In some parts of the world, the child might be abused by the step-parent. Some step-parents do this because they feel the child is too loved or cared for than themselves or their own children.
Sometimes, the child of the step-parent might see the other child as not his or her ‘equal’. This might result in a constant exchange of words among the children, sparking a new conflict. Who is supposed to control whose child? This turbulence and constant uproar are surmounted only in a few instances, otherwise, a fresh cycle of pre-divorce conflict sets in.
It is important to note that divorce has a negative influence on all affected children. While parents might be able to move on with their lives, the children will grow up exhibiting the good or bad characters and attributes their parents manifested before the split.
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