Presentation on theme: "Divorce statistics The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world. Currently, 45% of American marriages end in divorce. About ¼ of children live in."— Presentation transcript:
Divorce statistics The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world. Currently, 45% of American marriages end in divorce. About ¼ of children live in a single-parent household, mostly with their mothers. About 2/3 of divorced parents marry again, and half of the time they get divorced a second (or more) time.
Impact of divorce on parents Mothers experience a sharp decline in income, and the majority of single mothers with young children live in poverty. Transition from marriage to divorce results in high maternal stress, depression, anxiety, and disorganized routines (e..g, meals and bedtimes at all hours; house doesn’t get cleaned; lack of structure). Discipline becomes harsh and inconsistent. Noncustodial parent (usually father) becomes overly permissive and indulgent.
Effect on children About 25% of children in divorced families display severe problems, in contrast to 10% of children in nondivorced families. Decline in school performance More aggressive, defiant, negative, or depressed behavior Sexually active at an earlier age Experimentation with drugs and/or alcohol Criminal behavior
Persistence of negative effects Children whose parents divorced have higher rates of mental health problems in adulthood Have a harder time succeeding in college (often due to lack of financial or emotional support) Most report that they struggle with fears of intimacy in relationships. Adults whose parents are divorced are themselves more likely to divorce.
Gender differences in reactions to divorce Research has traditionally shown that boys show more negative effects than girls do. Some research now shows that girls often show a delayed reaction to divorce, making it difficult to associate the effects with the divorce. Longitudinal studies show girls show equal or even worse effects than boys do. In mother-custody homes, boys do worse than girls do and get less emotional support.
Temperamental differences As usual, difficult children suffer more during divorce than easy children do. More likely to be depressed, dropout of school, show antisocial behavior
Age differences Negative effects of divorce are greatest when the divorce occurs during the preschool years. Preschoolers tend to blame themselves for the divorce and fear the parents may abandon them. Children in middle childhood (8-10) get more social support and respond more constructively. They may develop new competencies and have an increase in self- esteem, OR they may become unruly.
How bleak is the outlook, realistically? Amato (2001): Most children show improved adjustment by 2 years post divorce. Still, children and adolescents from divorced homes show slightly lower academic achievement, self-esteem, and social competence and have more emotional and behavioral problems. Higher rates of sexual activity and adolescent parenthood.
Biggest factor in positive adjustment How well the custodial parent handles stress and shields the child from conflict The extent to which each parent uses authoritative parenting style When Mom is the custodial parent, contact with the father is important. More paternal contact and the warmer the father-child relationship, the less children react with defiance and aggression.
Positive adjustment cont. A good father-daughter relationship protects against early sexual activity and unhappy romances For boys, a good father-son relationship affects overall psychological well-being. Some studies indicate that boys are better off when fathers are the custodial parent.
Tips for divorcing parents Try to keep the # of changes the child must cope with to a minimum. (Keep them in same school/day care if possible.) Custodial parent should encourage regular contact with the noncustodial parent. Keep open conflict to a minimum; try not to fight in front of the children. NEVER use children as a go-between or talk disparagingly about ex-spouse to them. Don’t expect your child to provide you with emotional support.