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Children who are born and brought up in a family setup develop a special relationship with their parents. Each member of the family plays a critical role and a gap is recognized any time a certain member of the family is absent.
Depending on the relationship agreements, the parents divide roles amongst themselves and children learn to live within the social class of their parents. Obviously, each of the family members would wish that the life trend continues forever, but sometimes, that may not be the case. A time may come when the behaviors of either of the parents change completely.
The father, for example, may decide to become depressive and abscond from his duties. In such a case, the mother takes on the burden of caring for the whole family. If the father continues with the unimpressive behaviors, the mother would become tired and seek for a divorce. Some cases have happened where the mother turns to live a reckless life that forces the man to resolve to divorce. The later is a rare occurrence; however, regardless of the cause of divorce, the children are the immensely affected victims.
Children, especially those in their tender ages fail to understand why they can no longer live with both parents (Eisenhard, 2012). In this case, we have an interviewee who was a victim of divorced parents at the age of sixteen. The teenager was in denial since she could not believe or understand how she could just stop seeing her beloved dad. This paper will base its discussion on the interviewee’s answers to address the issue of divorce through the child’s eye.
First impression of divorce in a child’s eye
When life begins taking the other side of the coin, there is a lot of confusion. The interviewee started experiencing many unexplainable ill signs. The parents began trash talking each other, and each side of the family despised the other. The family members from the mothers said ill things about their father and the father’s family that despised her mother.
The teenager was caught in confusion; she could not understand what was going on, neither could she tell whom to believe. At one point, the child watches his father sleeping with a cigarette in his mouth. This is a clear sign that her father was extremely depressed. On reporting the incidence to the mother, the innocent child gets blows the following morning.
Her father is extremely mad such that he throws his shoe on her. This is a very disgusting scene and the interviewee indicates that the confusion affected her grades. Her grades dropped drastically during this period, and her emotions changed instantly. She could get mad at people easily and start quarrels with her siblings for no tangible reason. Form this point of view, it is evident that divorce is a scenario that brings in a lot of confusion, disbelieve and denial of the whole truth.
Family system theory and divorce
The family system theory tries to bring out the exact relationship that exists between the family members. Each of the family members develops an interdependent relationship with the other. The relationships formed are so strong such that breaking the bonds proves to be very difficult (Bell, 2010).
The interviewee indicates that she could have her mother’s family members talking ill of her father. Whether whatever the family members said was true or not, she could not believe them. The interviewee started seeing her father less often, and they could only meet in special places for some limited time.
The divorce robbed the teenager of her beloved father. She really hoped that things would work out for her parents and they would get along. The innocent teenager could not comprehend the fact that divorce meant total splitting of the family. However, despite the immerse interaction patterns that had formed between the family members, the mother could not settle for less. She could not get along with the infidelity of her partner, and she opted for a split family rather than a family of distress and agony.
The interviewee mentioned that immediately after knowing that her parents were divorcing, she could not absorb the fact, and she kept on pushing the thought at the back of her mind. Her parents would fight at her sight and she kept on disbelieving what she saw. Although the interviewee found it difficult at first, she understood everything later on. After the divorce, each of the parents owned the teenager an explanation.
The father had a story that defended him, and the mother had her side of the story. Finally, she had to settle on one truth, infidelity is what made her parents divorce. She is currently twenty years, and she can understand the agony that her mother underwent to seek refuge in divorce. Despite the fact that her parents divorced, she is happy for them because there is a lot of calmness and everyone is happy.
Attachment theory and divorce
As a family develops, strong emotional attachments form between the family members. Healthy emotional attachments between the family members enable the family to live happily. Parents who have a strong attachment to their families will work tirelessly to ensure they offer the best for the family.
The children develop strong attachments with their parents, and as they grow, strong emotional relationships occur (Mercer, 2006). After the age of six months, children are able to identify and sensitively respond to their caregivers. As children grow, they seek protection from the people around them and thus build a special attachment with their caretakers. The children grow up believing in their parents, thinking about them, and expecting a lot from them.
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The divorce scenario caught the teenager in surprise. Throughout her life, she had developed a strong attachment with both parents. The teenager developed a separation anxiety because she actually lost a special attachment figure. At first, the interviewee could not believe that she could be a victim of divorced parents, but it really happened. With disbelieve, the interviewee’s grades dropped at first as her mind was preoccupied with the thought of her divorced parents.
The interviewee had to develop an adaptive response, and she slowly gained back her confidence and developed increased strength that enabled her to score higher grades than before. The social life slowly changed and the interviewee felt like she would address her issues to her pals. As she grew, she developed a different perspective of life. She grew up knowing that a marriage commitment ought to be taken seriously.
From experience, the interviewee testified that individuals should understand that family splitting affects the entire life of the children. The interviewee was sixteen when the fateful incident happened, and four years down the line, she could comprehend everything. However, for her siblings who were very young when her parents divorced, it could take quite some time to comprehend everything that happened.
Divorce and the social exchange theory
The social exchange theory is very interesting as it explains the individuals’ interest in a family. The exchange theory states that individuals enter into relationships to reap maximum benefit and minimize the costs (Miller, 2005). In a family setup, the exchanges between the parties involved ought to be fair and balanced, thus enabling the involved parties to reap mutual benefits. The individuals in a family express behaviors that generate the greatest reward.
According to behavioral psychologists, family members will repeat the gainful behaviors provided they reap the required fruits. The Unitarian economists state that human beings will research on the necessary information, and employ all behaviors needed to make rational decisions that would reap maximum benefit. However, in some cases, the more the individuals in a family receive the reward, the more the reward loses its value, and that is when relationships start becoming sour.
The interviewee’s parents stated losing value of their relationship benefits when she was sixteen years old. The father could no longer find value in the intimate relationship with his wife, and thus he decided to become unfaithful. On the other hand, the mother weighed the benefits and costs associated with an unfaithful marriage, and of course, the costs outweighed the benefits.
Probably, the father could no longer provide for the family as he did before. The attachment between the father, children, and his wife was lessened as compared to the early days when the father did not have a third party to attend. The woman could also encounter the risks and costs associated with contacting sexually transmitted infections if she continued to cling to the marriage.
There being no more benefits of confiding in the marriage, she opted for divorce. It took the teenager some time to comprehend the cost benefit analysis that made her mother settle for a divorce. It is after she reached her twenties that she understood the emotional sufferings that her mother underwent during those tough family moments. She is now contended and happy because regardless of the split family, everybody is living happily.
From the discussions, it is evident that children are greatly affected by their parents’ decision to divorce. However, it is necessary for people to take a stringent analysis of the underlying issue that forced one to seek for divorce before making judgments. Clinging to an unfaithful marriage would pave way to many life problems than resolving for a divorce.
However, if possible, parents should always try as much as possible to keep their marriages. They should try to apply the utilitarian theory that requires couples to find out the necessary information of the behaviors that reap maximum benefits in the family union. Each of the family members should take actions that benefit the entire union.
Divorce should be the last thing couples should settle for as it adversely affects the children as well as the parent who will be separated from their kids. As the interviewee stated, people who make marriage commitments should stick with the commitments since bridging the commitments affects the children as well as the entire community.
Bell, D.C. (2010). The dynamics of connection: How evolution and biology create care giving and attachment. Lanham, MD: Lexington.
Eisenhard, T. (2012). The D-Word: Divorce through a child’s eyes. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.
Mercer, J. (2006). Understanding attachment: Parenting, childcare, and emotional development. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Miller, K. (2005). Communication theories. New York: McGraw Hill.