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The institution of marriage is very important for the normal growth and development of a child. As a child grows, it needs the attention of both father and mother in various social and economic contexts. It also learns a lot from the father and the mother about its own identity and how to lead a better future life. It is unfortunate that almost half of all marriages in the United States often end up in divorce. According to a study by Arnett, a number of factors have been cited as the cause of the growing cases of divorce in the country (43). The study shows that the growing trend in cases of divorce is largely attributed to the women empowerment in this country.
In the past, cases of divorce were rare because women were often determined to stay within their marriage even when they are abused. This was partly so because they had to rely on their husbands for economic support. The society did not tolerate divorce at that time making it rare to find such cases in the American society. However, a lot has changed since that time. Women have been empowered and they now have the capacity to support themselves financially. The society is also transformed and divorce is no longer stigmatized as was the case in the past. These two major changes in the modern society are believed to be the main reasons why divorce has become very common in the American society.
It is not easy to come up with a common solution to address the problem of divorce in the country because of the unique reasons behind each. However, it is important to come up with ways of protecting children whose parents have divorced. A study by Ragusa shows that children who are raised by divorced parents often undergo unique challenges during their development (51). They struggle to understand why their parents have to live apart, unlike what they see in other families. Without the protection of both parents, sometimes these children are subjected to physical and verbal abuse by those who are close to them. Such troubling upbringing may have devastating impact on the development of a child.
A boy-child needs the presence of the father to know how to behave as a man and take care of a family in the future. Similarly, a girl-child needs the presence of a mother to know how to take care of her husband and family in future. When a child is single parented, it is important for them to get attention of the other parent as regularly as possible. The environments within which these children grow often define who they become as adults. According to Deal and Olson, the social background of a child defines its academic and social development (28). Some of these children grow up to become serial killers such as Aileen Wuornos who was abandoned by the father and abused by close relatives. In this policy proposal paper, the researcher seeks to find a way in which children with divorced parents can be helped to do well in school, have strong relationships, and build successful lives and marriages in future.
Statement of the Solution
Children with divorced parents have a unique setting back at home and as such they have special needs. In some cases, the parents may remarry, forcing the child to be taken care of by individuals who are not their biological parents. In such environments, physical and verbal abuse may be common, depending on the relationship that the parent has defined. On the other hand, the divorced parent may decide to raise his or her children alone without remarrying. In such circumstances, a child may be forced to lead a life without knowing how it feels to have either a father or mother. Such a child will lack critical information needed in life that can only be learnt through the experience of having both parents. It is, therefore, critical to find a way of addressing this problem in an effective manner to help these children. In this section, the researcher sees to develop a possible way of protecting these children and ensuring that their personal and academic development is not negatively affected by the fact that their parents are divorced. This proposal should become a national policy that parents must commit to at the time of signing the divorce papers.
When it has become apparent that divorce is the only solution to the marriage problems of the two parents, there must be a separate document that the parents must sign before they are granted the divorce. The researcher refers to this document as an Agreement to Collecting Responsibility and Rights of Parents (ACRRP) paper. ACRRP defines the rights and responsibility that both parents will have towards their children after the divorce. In this document, both parents will commit to be present as often as possible in the lives of their children after divorce. If the mother is given custody of the children, she must allow the father to visit his children on a regular basis.
She must always let the children know who their biological father is even if she decides to remarry. If possible, the father should be allowed to spend time with his children on a regular basis to understand their fears and aspirations in life. The parents will also be required to explain to the child the reason why the parents are not staying together. On the other hand, the father will be expected to make regular and reasonable payment towards the children’s upbringing and education. Although this is a clause that already exists under the current family laws, it should be reemphasized in this document. The same rules and regulations apply to the mother in case it is the father who is granted custody of the children. An assurance by both parents to the children that their fears and needs will be addressed will also be contained in the document.
The environment within which a child is raised is very important in defining their future. Currently, there are laws that explain how to determine the parent to be given custody of a child in case of a separation (Philyaw and Thomas 88). However, these laws are rarely implemented as effectively as would be necessary soon after divorce. The ACRRP will have a clause that will be very critical for the protection of the children that allows welfare officers to regularly investigate the environment in which these children live to determine if it is conducive. Welfare officers should be allowed to interact with these children either at home or in school to determine if their needs are being fully met and if they are subjected to any form of physical or psychological abuse back at home.
The parent, responsible for the care and protection of the child, should be held legally responsible for the abuse. In such cases, the other parent shall be considered appropriate to have the custody of the children. A punitive measure must be clearly set in the document in case a child is abused under the care of either of the parents. The ACRRP document must be read and fully be interested to the parent before they can sign the divorce papers. They must ascertain that they understand the content and that they are willing to abide by the set policies and regulations. It is expected that these new policies will help in protecting a child from any form of abuse and neglect after the divorce. They will help ensure that a child’s right to education and social development is respected by both parents after their separation.
Objections to the Solution
It is expected that there will be objection to these strict regulations for parents who are planning to divorce. One of the possible arguments that may be put forth by those against these laws is that it may force some parents to stay in abusing marriage because of the fear of the consequences of the laws with regard to child care. Cases of homicide in the United States have been very common, especially in cases where one partner takes away the life of the other partner. However, there is often a consistent escalation of such brutalities, from verbal to minor physical abuse before such gruesome deaths. As such, one should be allowed out of a marriage as soon as he or she feels it is appropriate. The new regulation may put lives of the other partner in danger because it may prolong the process. This is a valid claim given the rising statistics of homicide in the country (Rosin 64). However, these laws are needed to ensure that children are protected after divorce. The parents must remember that the law does not stop them from divorcing. It only creates a legal responsibility on the parents over the development of the children.
A section of the society may also object the implementation of the regulations contained in the ACRRP citing the fact that it is silent on the issue about guardians. A perfect example they may give is the success of Barack Obama academically and in socio-political life after the divorce of the parents. A study by Vaillant shows that Obama is a successful father to his girls and a good husband to his wife despite having been raised away from both parents (58). He became the first African American President of the United States of America. Indeed it is true that sometimes children thrive when they are under care of people other than their own parents. However, it is important to note that his was a unique case. In fact, President Barrack Obama had a difficult time when he was a youth.
Not only was his mixed race and issue but the fact that he had to grow up without his parents troubled him a lot. He could not understand his identity in a way that he desired (Kendall 78). In fact, the psychological torture that he faced forced him into alcohol and drugs. He was able to overcome all these challenges, but not everyone makes it through after degenerating into substance abuse. Most of the troubled youths who get into drug abuse become completely wasted. They get to fully rely on drugs for their entire lives. They become social misfits, such as Aileen Wuornos who murdered so many people as she remembered her troubled past. Although sometimes the grandparents, relatives or friends may offer a perfect care to children with divorced parents, it should still be clear that the responsibility of taking care of the children is on the parents. Anyone who steps in to help when the parents are alive will be doing a favor to the parents. The law will eliminate cases where single parents abandon their children with their aging parents and disappear.
Children with divorced parents have always faced serious problems growing up in an environment where their needs and fears in life are not addressed. In most of the cases, these children face difficulty achieving success in their academic and social lives. Some of these children grow to become dangerous criminals in the society. Others become social misfits with negative contributions to the nation’s socio-economic and political environment. It is necessary to find a way of helping these children to do well in school, have strong relationships, and build successful lives and marriages. The laws and regulations stipulated in ACRRP is the best compared to other existing laws because it puts emphasis on the parents as the people primarily responsible for the development and protection of their children.
Arnett, Jeffrey. Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach. Pearson, 2013.
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Deal, Ron, and David Olson. The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family. Wiley, 2015.
Kendall, Diana. Sociology in Our Times. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.
Philyaw, Deesha, and Michael Thomas. Co-parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce. Springer, 2013.
Ragusa, David. Other People’s Kids. Book Baby, 2015.
Rosin, Hanna. The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. Viking, 2012.
Vaillant, George. Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.