Divorce - Yay or Nay?


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           There have been numerous studies and findings pointing to the negative effects of divorce on children.  They always state poor school performance, bad behavior, etc.  With the divorce rate in the U.S. around 53 percent, it should be a major concern for how serious people take marriage, sex and the traumatic situations these people are putting their children at risk for.  Over the eleven years a lot of families didn't experience a divorce, but the ones that did before or during the study were examined based off the age of children during the divorce and the short and long-term effects it had on the kids at home and school.  They found that at all age frames children had "higher rates of externalizing problems than children from two-parent families according to mothers, teachers, and their own self-report." 

            A report I found how many different sources on various studies showing the bad external problems children of divorce have.  They used data from the National Survey of Children (NSC) that consisted of a sample of 1,423 kids that were evaluated three times over an eleven year span with children in three different age groups: 7-11, 12-16 and 18-22 (3).  To prove the consistency of this finding they discussed another study with a similar type of study (observational) found behaviors in children from divorced families such as "delinquency, aggression, and disobedience" with a third study that showed the same results (4) (5).  Lastly, they discussed a study that showed these children had disobedient and aggressive behavior even when their peers - of two-parent families- did not act this way (6).            

fighting.jpg

            Every study on this topic has been observational, when we all know experimental studies are much less bias and accurate.  Throughout the reports while examining the families, it's very likely that the mothers, teachers and kids reported their true feelings towards the divorce in a bias way because of the widely accepted belief that divorce is suppose to effect kids in a negative way.  Another thing they never examined during the studies are all of the kids behaviors that were in two parent families, they only continued to examine the children that were in divorced families.  They also never took into account the parents backgrounds.  For example, how long were the parents married, did they marry because they had a kid, were they good people?  All of these unanswered questions could have also lead to the child's behavior, not just from the divorce.  Bad parenting plays one of the biggest roles on a child's behavior, whether there's one or two parents influencing them.  Overall, the biggest problem I have with all studies done on these negative effects on divorced children is the fact that there must have been a good reason for the parents to divorce, whether they fought a lot, had an affair, or just weren't happy with their spouse.  After reviewing all of these studies, I wanted to see one on children that are in houses with both parents, but parents that aren't happy together.  Parents that probably should divorce but for one reason or another felt that it was the right thing to do to stay together.  To me, this seems like it could have a much larger negative effect on a kid than a divorce.  What do you thinks best?  Having one parent around that loves you unconditionally and wants what's best for you, or having two parents around that are visibly unhappy, constantly fighting and being revealed to that kind of behavior between your parents on a daily basis.  I feel like the answer seems pretty obvious, so why haven't these studies taken that into account?


 

(1) http://www.pitt.edu/ppcl/Publications/chapters/children_of_divorce.htm

 

(2) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm

 

(3) Furstenberg & Allison, 1989; Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, & Zill, 1993; Zill et al., 1993

 

(4) SES Glueck & Glueck, 1950; Nye, 1957

(5) Grych & Fincham, 1992; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1978

(6) Hetherington and colleagues 1978

(7) http://kytx.images.worldnow.com/images/14624183_BG1.jpg

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