Child Psychology Divorce

Many research has been done on Child Psychology Divorce. Here is a list of remarkable findings during the past decades. They do away with some commonly accepted beliefs about Children and Divorce.

1. Long term effects

Children can suffer from divorce on the long run. It happens that the effects surface only many years after the divorce.
(Book by Wallerstein 1991)

2. Absent fathers

Children in families without a father suffer more often from one or more of these disorders: Child Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A stepfather does not help.
(Study by Pfiffner, McBurnett, Rathouz, 2004)

3. The psychological well being of children of divorce

Children of divorce experience serious negative psychological consequences before, during and after the divorce. These Child Psychology Divorce consequences do not depend on the family conditions before the divorce.
(Study by Sun and Li, 2002)

4. Lower commitment to a marriage

Many studies report a much higher divorce rate amongst children of divorce (almost twice as high). This is mainly due to a lower commitment to the marriage and to lower relationship skills.
(Book by Heatherington, 2004)

5. Adolescent children of divorce are more likely to have children.

They have higher delinquency rates and are more likely to have sex when very young.
(Study by Maher 2003)

6. Depression and anxiety

Children of divorce are significantly more often victims of depression or anxiety well into their twenties. Anxiety can even result in Anxiety Disorder, another possible Child Psychology Divorce outcome.
(A study reported by the American Sociological Review 1998)

7. A dead father is better

Children from broken homes have more psychological problems then children from homes disrupted by the death of their father.
(A book by Emery 1988)

8. Health problems

Children of divorce are found to have more injuries, speach defects, asthma and headaches. When living with their divorced mother, they tend to have more professional help with behavioral and emotional problems.
(Study by Dawson)

9. Poor relationships with their divorced parents

Children of broken families in the age of 18-22 are twice as likely to have poor a relationship with their parents. They display high levels of emotional distress or problem behavior. Many of them get psychological help." Zill found the effects of divorce still evident 12 to 22 years after the breakup. The impact can be found after 12 to 22 after the divorce.
(A study by Zill, Morisson and Coiro 1995)

10. Oppositional Defiance Disorder

Some children of divorce suffer from oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) These children display an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior towards their parents. The behavior interferes with the youngster’s day to day functioning.

11. Behaviour problems: more and worse

There are significantly more behavioral problems with children in unhappy families. The behavioral problems in this group are worse too.
(Study by Webster-Stratton, 1989)

12. Aggression

A number of researches on Child Psychology Divorce found out children of divorce are more aggressive than children of married couples.
(A study by Emery 1988)

13. Lonely and unhappy

Judith Wallerstein found many children of divorced parents behave impulsive and irritable. They are more socially withdrawn and as a result, they feel more lonely, insecure, anxious and anxious. Not only right after the divorce, but also 6 years later.
(Study by Wallerstein 1991)

14. Child Discipline

Child discipline is lower in families with parents with marital problems but is lowest with children that live with their unmarried mother.
(Study by Webster-Stratton, 1989)

15. Disobedience

Research on Child Psychology Divorce found that children of divorce are less obedient to their divorced parents.
(Study by Stein, Newcomb, and Bentler, 1987)

16. A new marriage does not improve the psychological well-being of adolescents

Disturbed functioning of adolescents is common among adolescents in stepfamilies and in adolescents of single parent families. But occurs much less in normal married families.
(Book by Furstenberg and Cherlin)

17. Suicide

There is a higher suicide rate for children of divorce than for children of normal families. There is no correlation found between the death of a parent and suicide of a child. The suicide seems to be triggered by being rejected by a parent.
(A study by Larson and Larson 1990)

18. Learning disabilities

Analysis of nine years of child psychology divorce data in Australia, unveiled that unmarried women, widows and divorced or separated women are more likely to have children with a moderate intellectual disability than those who were married. The researchers think it has to do with their social disadvantage.
(A study by the University of Western Australia)

19. Academic achievement

Tends to be lower among children of divorce.
(Winslow 2004)

20. The Sleeper Effect

The so called “sleeper effect” kicks in on children of divorce on a later age. Most Young boys tend to express their emotions and frustrations freely. Their emotions fade out. Young girls however, keep their emotions internally more often. They do not deal with them. Their emotions stay within and they surface when they mature. Usually, this occurs in a period in which they make essential decisions for their lives for many years to come. They are inconsiously influenced by the anxiety and fear resulting from the divorce of their parents long ago.
(A study by Wallerstein and Blakeslee).

21. Feeling unsafe

In general, children of divorce feel emotionally unsafe as a child. 6 children out of 10 for children of broken families feel unsafe and only 2 out of 10 for married families.
(A study by Marquardt 2005)

22. Children feel not being at the center of the broken family

This counts for 67 percent of children of divorced families and for only 33 percent of children of intact families.
(A study by Marquardt 2005)

23. Feeling lonely

Children of divorced families reported they are 6 times more likely to feel alone as a child.
(A study by Marquardt 2005)

24. When in need of comfort, they do not go to their parents

This counts for 68 percent of children of divorced families and for only 32 percent of children of intact families.
(A study by Marquardt 2005)

25. Teens have their own objectives and try to maintain their identity

They often follow a child psychology divorce strategy like this:

  • they keep away information from one parent so they do not get punished or to improve their relationship with the other parent. They handsomely use the limited communication between their parents.
  • when parents try to use their teen as a messenger between them, the teen will use this in his advantage. He chooses the messages he wants to be passed on. He will make some changes to some messages to benefit from it
  • live in the house of the least demanding parent. It is an easy way to walk away from an unwanted situation. Sometimes it is to punish one of the parents
  • banning one of the parents out of his life.

(study by Chris Menning 2003)

26. Children of divorce do not benefit from Joint physical custody

Opposed to what was thought before, joint physical custody does not benefit the children. However, it does not damage them either.

More details on child psychology divorce and be found in the artilce Outcomes of Divorce on Children.

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