Children of divorced parents

Divorce has many consequences for well being. Children of divorced parents remember very well the troubled times they went through when their parents divorced. They know all the negative effects the divorce of their parents has had on there personality.

As a result, children of divorce often try to avoid that happening to their own children. Unfortunately, many times the results are opposite to their good intentions.

Nicolas Wolfinger (University of Utah, Department of Family and Consumer Studies) has done decent research on children of divorced parents in the U.S.A. His findings are extensively explained in his book “Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages,” Here are a few of his findings and findings of others:

  • Growing up with divorced parents increases the chances of ending their own marriage later in life. This is called the “intergenerational transmission of divorce” or divorce cycle.
  • These children are more likely to marry as teens. Wolfinger: “One reason children from divorced families get divorced more often is because they have a tendency to marry as teenagers”
  • Girls of divorced parents have a much higher change of becoming pregnant when they are still teens when their father is not involved in their parenting. This is caused (with a high probability) by a lack of love and affection of their father
  • Children learn most from others by watching, more than from listening. So it is important to have frequent interactions with both their father and their mother
  • Children of divorced parents cohabitate more often (this does not have to be a bad thing)
  • Children of divorced parents marry someone who is also a child of divorced parents
  • Children of divorce are 33% more likely not to marry if they have passed the age twenty. Wolfinger: “The older you are when you marry, the less likely you are to get divorced. It's good advice for everyone.“
  • If one spouse comes from a divorced family, the probability of divorcing are twice as high
  • If both spouses are children of divorce, the chance of divorcing is three times higher
  • Some the negative effects on children of divorced parents are less severe nowadays, because divorce is not an exception any more and it is more socially accepted.

It look like divorce is inherited from parents to their children more and more. This adds a whole new dimension. Divorce is transmitted from one generation to the other. Like a biological inheritance that cannot be avoided. A divorce affects an increasing number of people over time. This is an unpleasant thought today when 50% of the marriages in the U.S. end up in divorce.

Wolfinger's research seems to be very solid. His research is based on 2 main sources:

  • the National Survey of Families and Households. This survey includes detailed information on family background of 13,000 people.
  • General Social Survey, which surveyed 20,000 people over a 30-year period.

The California Children of Divorce Project which run from 1971 to 1981 concluded:

the impact of the divorce itself was not the most negative influence parents unable to restore a good relationship with their children and with their ex had a major negative impact on the children most helpful is having a good child support system that helps them to get back on the track

Are you a Child Friendly Divorced Parent? Do the
Self Assessment

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