Divorce of parents is one of the most painful and stressful situations in the life of every child. Divorce does not necessarily demonstrate personal failure, of course. In many cases, it is a courageous and healthy step forward in life. Many divorcing parents need to become more forgiving of themselves and allow themselves to be humanly imperfect. The true measure of people is not how often they stumble or make mistakes but how they recover afterward. For a young child, divorce means the loss of family— the entity that provides a child with support, stability, security, and continuity in an often unpredictable world.
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A child can be sad and felt a deep sense of loss—of family, security, even my daily routines, and family traditions. As a child, a person feels responsible and blamed himself for his parents’ divorce. A variety of explanations has been put forward for these findings. Some have argued that disorder, or some factor related to disorder, influences marital status rather than vice versa (Luck 92). Compared to peers, members of disadvantaged groups might appraise stressful encounters as more harmful or threatening, or they might possess limited coping resources (compare financial resources) or deficient coping skills. A related possibility, of course, is that groups reporting relatively more distress may experience some deficiency of social support process. Coping and social support represents an important sphere for exploring vulnerabilities to stressors that appear to underlie social findings (Regan 43).
Self-blame and stress can lead to psychological disorders and traumas. To avoid these problems, parents should anticipate or think ahead about their likely responses during these difficult conversations. By doing so, parents could better manage their sadness, guilt, and other feelings that made it more difficult to respond to their children’s feelings and reactions. Even though these conversations were hard, parents and children alike adjust better if these topics that everyone wanted to avoid could be talked about and made overt (Jacobson 82). For a young child, maintaining network relationships may become difficult as stressors diminish a person’s contribution to the relationship or increase the perceived costs to the network member. Rather they reflected rejection and isolation by others who saw them as deviant and unlikely to reciprocate help, as well as deficits or reluctance on the part of the neglectful mothers themselves. Sadly, there was some evidence from this study that the neglected children, too, maybe stigmatized, being seen as inappropriate playmates by mothers of their neighborhood peers. Researchers found that many who had suffered a prolonged separation from their mother during infancy seemed well adjusted. Those who were maladjusted had experienced a particular kind of family breakup, namely, due to divorce in the family (Jacobson 92). Such experiences in themselves could be disturbing to the young child, over and above the separation. Therefore, perhaps the particular circumstance of separation is the factor that gives rise to permanent emotional damage, and not so much the mere fact of separation (Bonannan 51).
In sum, divorce is a painful process for every young child. Separation is traumatic for a young child, but perhaps there is scope for emotional repair when normal family life resumes in many cases. Evidently, early deprivation of attachment bonds had the expected damaging effect in some respects. However, only one of the children who had been institutionalized truanted, stole and committed other anti-social acts. Although separation of parents can have a devastating effect on the child’s emotional development and further emotional growth. From the personal experience of my friend, I know that a child suffers greatly when parents separated and blame himself all adult life in the divorce. For many children, it is difficult to accept a new mother or a father, so they reject and resist new romantic relations with their parents.
Regan M. C. Jr. Alone Together: Law and the Meanings of Marriage. Oxford University Press, 1999.
Bonannan Paul, ed. Divorce and After. Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 2002.
Despert Louise J. Children of Divorce. New York: Doubleday Dolphin Books, 2004.
Jacobson Paul H. American Marriage and Divorce. New York: Rinehart & Co., 2005.
Luck William F. Divorce and Remarriage: Recovering the Biblical View. New York: Harper and Row, 2000.