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Chapmon 1

Madison Chapmon
Instructor: Malcolm Campbell
English 1103
March 30, 2015

Divorce: Are They Really All Bad?

Divorces have been taking place within families for decades and decades now, but
has anyone ever truly thought in depth about the eaffects that theyis haves or could have
on children? Divorce is defined as the ending or and instance of legally dissolving
marriage, according to Merriam-Websters dictionary. This sounds pretty bad when you
read the legitimatetrue definition of it, but could it be possible for divorce to bring
stability to the lives of the children suffering in unhappy or unstable homes, or does it
always have to be associated with negative eaffects regarding the children? We are
always seeing statistics on the Internet regarding divorce rates and whether theyre up or
down this year, but rarely are we seeing statistics talking about the effects they can bring
to the children, whether they are good or bad.
Although there are many negative effects that divorces can bring to families, I do
believe that it is possible for divorce to bring stability to the lives of some children as
well. Depending on the situation, divorce can be good for a family all together or it may
be bad. For example, if the parents of a child are constantly fighting at home and not
getting along, a divorce could probably bring stability to the life of that child. Sometimes
divorces are neutral between couples and may not bring fighting and anger. Often times

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the parents remain friends after a divorce and can still get along, which would be good
for the sake of their children. I believe that it is important for the parents to consider their
children when dealing with a divorce. When the situation is handled maturely and
rationally, the child wouldnt be exposed to all of the negativity, which would be less
likely to cause them unhappiness.
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Divorce can indeed have a negative outcome on the lives of the children.
Children of divorce households are worse off than children of intact household, writes
(Stevenson & Wolfers, from the American Economic AssociationMarriage and Divorce).
A study was done by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
(AACAPAACAP), which showed how some children feel when dealing with divorcing
parents.
While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are
invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so
hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or
direction. This can add to the pressure and stress a child is experiencing. Divorce can be
misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are
involved and not involved, and what will happen to them(Children and
DivorceAACAP). Often times it is hard for parents to talk to their children about
divorce, which can lead to confusion. Researchers say that sometimes when a parent is
suffering from depression, their children may begin to suffer from depression also. The
parents emotions have a strong impact on their childs emotions. The AACAP gives tips

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on how to help both the children and the parents with the challenges and stress that
divorce brings them:

Do not keep it a secret or wait until the last minute

Tell your child together with your spouse if possible

Tell your child that the divorce is not their fault

Admit that it may will be upsetting for everyone at first

Reassure your child that you both still love them

Sarah Harris, from the Herald Sun, took a poll asking children of divorced parents

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how theyve suffered from the divorce and dealt with it. She believes that parents dont
always notice the eaffects that their divorces can have or bring on their children.
Sometimes theyre too busy wrapped up in their own feelings and problems to notice
what their children are actually going through.
Many parents fail to notice that their children are turning to drink and drugs, or
even considering suicide, the poll found. Some were insensitive enough to break the news
of the divorce to their children by text. One in 20 had turned to alcohol and one in nine
had deliberately wounded themselves. A further 6 per cent had considered suicide, while
two of those polled had tried to kill themselves (Harris, Herald Sun). At the end of this
article, Harris wrotesaid, While divorce may be the best thing for many families, we
have to ensure children are helped to understand the split isn't their fault and that they are
still loved."
Some children feel like they are stuck in the middle between their parents as if
they have to choose between the two of them. Others feelt as if they wereare responsible
to look after their mothers and fathers after their relationships fell apart. This shouldnt be

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the case. In order to reduce the negative outcomes from divorce, for the sake of the
children, the children need to be assured that nothing has changed or is going to change
between them and their parents. Parents need to take control and handle their divorce
maturely and make their children feel just as loved as they were the day before, as they
should be.
There are many factors that determine how families are affected by divorce.
Research was done regarding divorce and children, and according to Purdue University,
Children have different types of reactions. Some reactions will be negative and others
will be positive. Their reactions depend on many different things.( Karuppaswamy,
Purdue.edu). Some of the determining factors mentioned are:

Level of conflict between parents

How parents adjust to divorce

Information children are given about the divorce

Age and developmental level of children

Level of social support

Childrens gender

Childrens ability to cope with stress

These factors play a huge role oin the effects on children. When there is a lot of conflict
between the parents, this can lead to criticism of one another as well as arguments over
custody. These experiences can be hard for the child and they maycan also make it
difficult for the child to adjust to the divorce. If the parents adjust well to divorce, the
child is more likely to adjust well also. Informing the child about the divorce can make it
easier as well. If a child is uninformed on the divorce they may make things up about it

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or get the wrong idea. For instance, the child may think that his or her parents are just in a
little fight and tell his or her friends that everything is going to be okay, when little does
that child know that his or her parents are actually getting divorced. It is important to let
the child know what is going on. The researchers from Puerdue University do not believe
that divorce always causes pain because people react and adjust in many different ways
due to the situation that is taking place.
There are many ways in which a divorce can be beneficial to children. Here are some

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of the positive outcomes divorces can bring:

When mommy and Daddy our Happier as individuals, their kids will be too.

When the tension dissolves out of the house, kids will be more relaxed.

When you model that you deserve to be in a satisfying and supportive


relationship, you model something wonderful to your kids.

With shared custody, kids have the opportunity to experience each parent as a full
and competent parent.
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Interestingly enough, a third of all of the divorce filings from 2011


contained the word Facebook in them. These divorces are said to have been caused by
some type of social media infidelity between one parent and another person. This type of
situation is one that would be more likely to bring negative effects to the children.
Situations in which a parent is involved with someone other than his or her spouse is a
situation that is more likely to cause harmful effects on the family. If a parent isnt happy,

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the child most likely wont be happy, so divorce can bring both stability and/or instability
to families.
Patrick Fagan and Robert Rector from The Heritage Foundation believe
that in order to make an effort to reduce divorce rates as well as the negative effects they
come with, the federal government should:

Establish, by resolution, a national goal of reducing divorce among


families with children by one-third over the next decade.

Establish pro-marriage demonstration programs by diverting sufficient


funds from existing federal social programs into programs that provide
training in marriage skills.

Mandate that surplus welfare funds be used to strengthen marriages


and slow the increase in Family disintegration.

Rebuild the federal-state system for gathering statistics on marriage


and divorce, which ended in 1993. Without such data, the nation cannot
assess the true impact of divorce on the Family, the schools, the
community, and the taxpayer.

Create a public health campaign to inform Americans of the risks


associated with divorce and of the long-term benefits of marriage.

State laws also play a key role in divorce considering that they govern marriage. It is
important for them to establish a goal to reduce the negative effects of divorce over the
next decade and stick to that goal.

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Although there are many negative affects that divorces can bring to families, I do believe
Sometimes a divorce is unexpected and tragic for a family. However,
although some people may not realize it, some families today are in need of divorce.
Divorce is not necessarily always a bad thing. Divorce is the end of a marriage, not the
end of the family. Successful co-parenting is the greatest gift you can give your
child. Many parents stay married too long for the children but then when the
marriage ultimately cracks, they end up creating so much negativity towards their former
spouse that the childs perception of marriage can be permanently altered (Gorman,
Florida Accounting Litigation Services).
In order to make your children happy, you have got to find happiness for yourself
first. Staying together for the children could end up doing more harm for the children
than good, in certain scenarios. People may not realize it, but some families today are in
need of divorce. One of my friends that Ive grown up with, Seth Anderson, has parents
who rarely ever speak to each other, yet they still live under the same roof. He said that
when they do talk, which is not oftenrarely, its them arguing over money. They would
get a divorce, but my dad said its too expensive(Anderson). Seth has mentioned to me
several times that hes scared hes going to be like his dad in the future; hes worried that
hell end up being unhappy with his wife and set a bad example for his children as well.
According to Seth believes that, his parents dont love each other anymore; theyre just
staying together due to money. In this situation, I think a divorce is necessary to bring
stability to Seths family. What kind of example are his parents setting for him and his
siblings? Studies show that children living in unstable homes while growing up are more
likely to be apart of and unstable home later in life. I dont want this for Seth. Parents

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need to consider the effects that their behavior can have on their children in the present,
as well as the future.
As mentioned earlier, Gordon Berlin from MDRC also says children who grow
up in an intact, two-parent family with both biological parents present do better on a wide
range of outcomes than children who grow up in a single-parent family. Single
parenthood is said to be one of the contributing causes to higher rates of school dropouts,
teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, or other negative outcomes, but it does not
contribute independently to these problems. Divorced parents or single parenting does
not guarantee that a child will not be successful later in his or her life, in fact, most of
them do end up being successful later on. Even though all of these negative outcomes are
possible outcomes of divorce, there is help that the families can get in order to prevent
these problems.
An emerging body of evidence suggests that marital education, family
counseling, and related services can improve the couples communication skills, problemsolving skills, as well as improving their relationship overall. Encouraging and
supporting healthy marriages is a cornerstone of the Bush Administration's proposed
policies for addressing the poverty-related woes of single-parent households and,
importantly, for improving the well-being of low-income children (Berlin, MDRC).
Close to a third of the children born in the United States each year are born out of
wedlock, meaning that their parents were not married when they were born. It is also
said that about half of all first marriages end in divorce, which often times results in the
single-parent households being poor. So to sum it all up, Gordon Berlin writes,
equalizing income and opportunity do improve the life outcomes of children growing up

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in single-parent households, but children raised in two-parent families still have an
advantage (MDRC).
In a casual discussion on divorce today, most people feel sympathetic for the
families going through with it, not knowing that it could possibly bring that family
happiness. Little do they know that the divorce may have brought more stability to that
family than ever before. Sure going through a divorce may be hard at first, but its a
process and it takes time to adjust to. According to Judith Wallerstein, only 40% of
children marry after having divorced parents. She has been studying divorces for years
now and Wallerstein has come to conclusion that there are ways to make this adjustment
easier on the children, as well as their parent. Quality post-divorce life is crucial for
children and parents after going through a divorce. As mentioned earlier, the way in
which the parents react to their divorce is likely to affect the way their children will react
as well.
Divorce is usually upsetting for a child to hear at first, but handling the situation
properly makes it easier for both the children and the parents. Its not the divorce itself
that brings negative effects, but more the exposure to their parents strife which often
causes the childs future relationships to be more likely to suffer. If a divorce is what is
right for the family, the child as well as the parents will come to realize that and stability
will take its place in their life. Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not always a bad
thing. In some situations it is proven to be whats best for the family.

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Works Cited
Berlin, Gordon. "The Effects of Marriage and Divorce on Families and Children."
MDRC. 4 May 2004. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

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"Children and Divorce." AACAP.org. American Academy of Child and Adolescent

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Psychiatry, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.


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Desai, Amy. "How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?" Focus on the Family. 18 Apr.
2006. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/
divorce-and-infidelity/should-i-get-a-divorce/how-could-divorce-affect-my-

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kids>.

"Children and Divorce." <i>Children and Divorce</i>. 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 8 Mar.
2015.
http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Famil
ies_Pages/Children_and_Divorce_01.aspx>.

Fagan, Patrick, and Robert Rector. "The Effects of Divorce on America." The Heritage
Foundation. 5 June 2000. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Gorman, Jonathan. "Divorce and Children." Florida Accounting Litigation Services.


Web. 14 Apr. 2015

Harris, Sarah. "The True Impact of Divorce on Children." Herald Sun 30 Dec. 2013.
Web. March 1. 2015.

Karuppaswamy, Nithyakala. "The Effect of Divorce on Children: What Makes a


Difference?" Purdue.edu. 2006. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.

Stevenson, Betsey, and Justin Wolfers. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and Their
Driving Forces. " American Economic AssociationJournal of Economic
Perspectives. 21.2 (2007): 27-52. WebPrint. 23

Feb. 2015.

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Wallerstein, J.udith S, and J.oan B. Kelly. Surviving the Breakup: How Children and
with Divorce. New York: Basic Books, 1980. Print. Feb 27. 2015.