The dramatic increase in the rate of parental divorce in the world is well documented. The past decades have witnessed significant changes in family life in many countries. Even though the rate of divorce has leveled off, there is no evidence suggesting that it may decline in the foreseeable future. Growing up in divorced families is an unfortunate alternative development path for millions of children. The rise in divorce has explicitly been consequential to many youngsters. While children experience parental divorce as a stressful life event, they exhibit emotional distress, development disruptions, and behavior disorders that persist to affect them throughout their adulthood.
The leading consequence of parental divorce is emotional distress among children. According to Stack & Scourfield (2015), children of divorce constitute a population at a higher risk for developing emotional problems, such as aggression and antisocial problems. Prominent among the antisocial issues include depression, intense sadness, irritability, anxiety, and low self-esteem. For instance, the aftermath of divorce makes children anxious, tense, and nervous. Youngsters may also suffer from constant mood swings and excessively become irritable when interacting with people. Whereas troubled children often find it difficult to concentrate, acute sadness can eventually plunge them into a state of social withdrawal. Consequently, since such children lack comprehensive parental support, they often feel disillusioned and hopeless.
The growing visible phenomenon of parental separation can also lead to development disruption for many children. Several studies indicate that parental divorce is associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes for children across different domains. For instance, it is related to academic challenges, including prematurely dropping out of school and lower grades (Bernardi & Radl, 2014). Besides, separation of parents significantly results in greater disruptive behaviors, such as stealing, drug abuse, and getting into fights. In addition to opposing authority figures, children experiencing parental separation exhibit lower self-confidence, emotional distress, and higher rates of depression. For children, striving to understand the changing dynamics of their family may leave them confused and distracted leading to poor overall performance.
Multiple converging lines of evidence elucidate that divorce exerts lasting adverse behavior disorders on a sizable majority of the children involved. Parental divorce negatively influences children’s behaviors as they transition into young adulthood and even later in life. Admittedly, children of divorced parents are more likely to experience educational failure, non-marital childbirths, marital discord and divorce, cohabitation, poverty, early marriage, and risky sexual activity (Tartari, 2015). Furthermore, it is undeniable that emotional issues associated with parental separation radically increase during adulthood. Hence, young adults with divorced parents are usually less satisfied with life, unhappy, more anxious and depressed, have a weaker sense of personal control, and increased health problems.
Generally, it is a rational fact that adopting practices and policies for successful modulation of divorce plays a critical role in healthy child development. Tartari (2015) demonstrate that children need to develop a comprehensive balance between the realistic society demands and family for proper, socially adaptive interpersonal conduct. Moreover, parents should be increasingly aware of the importance of healthy practices that foster their children’s self-enhancing ability to be assertive. When both parents allow children to grow under their guidance, it becomes the core of effective parenting through which teenagers learn as they develop into remarkable adults.
In summary, divorce is a predominant menace in society, and it is highly associated with numerous academic, social, and psychological problems throughout the life of children. Children witnessing parental divorce frequently undergo emotional distress, development disruption, and behavior disorders during the separation and even afterward. In essence, financial difficulties, problems with poor parenting, and continuous conflicts between the co-parents after divorce manifest the relationship between children functioning and parental divorce. Therefore, understanding the magnitude of these complications and the causal mechanisms through which parental divorce influences such behaviors has significant social consequences.
Bernardi, F., & Radl, J. (2014). The long-term consequences of parental divorce for children’s educational attainment. Demographic research, 30, 1653-1680.
Stack, S., & Scourfield, J. (2015). Recency of divorce, depression, and suicide risk. Journal of Family Issues, 36(6), 695-715.
Tartari, M. (2015). Divorce and the cognitive achievement of children. International Economic Review, 56(2), 597-645.