Many studies have focused on understanding how divorce affects children. In the twenty-first century, an increasing percentage of marriages end up in divorce. Couples are unable to resolve their differences and are likely to file for divorce. However, couples with children often have a more difficult time deciding whether they should file for divorce or stay together for the sake of the children. Most of these couples recognize that children require a favorable environment that supports their growth. Conflicts between couples have a significant effect on children (Cohen & Weitzman, 2016). However, divorce leaves children with only one option of learning to adjust to the absence of one parent. For this reason, parents who seek to promote the welfare of their children opt to stay together, even when the relationship is not working for the sake of the children. Unfortunately, remaining together does not automatically guarantee the children the appropriate environment for positive growth.
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Divorce has significant adverse effects on children. Particularly, children aged between six and ten years are likely to suffer the adverse effects of divorce in various ways. Such children develop emotional and psychic trauma that affect their academic performance. Children may also develop poor social skills due to the childhood trauma that they suffer. Recent studies have demonstrated that divorce causes emotional, psychological, as well as social problems (Goldberg & Carlson, 2014). It may be extremely difficult for children to adjust to the absence of one parent. Couples with children agree on child custody or let the court decide the parent who will stay with the children. The detachment from one parent is likely to affect the behavioral patterns of children involved if they do not receive adequate counseling.
On the other hand, couples that opt to stay together for the sake of children may help in providing a better environment for children to grow. There is evidence that children growing in families with both parents register positive outcomes in various aspects of life. However, some parents choose to remain together without developing a strategy to resolve their marital issues. As a result, they have regular conflicts and excessive tension within the family setting. Such conflicts also affect children negatively. Children aged between six and ten can tell when there is a conflict in the family. The relationship of parents plays an important role in influencing the perspectives of children towards others and marriage (Cohen & Weitzman, 2016). There may be direct effects of regular conflicts on the children. Undoubtedly, fights and conflicts between couples affect the behavioral patterns of children. The strained relationship between parents may affect the well-being of children. Specifically, such conflicts compromise the proper developmental procedures and stages. The children suffer emotionally, socially, and psychologically because they do not understand the causes of the regular conflicts between their parents (Goldberg & Carlson, 2014). Such a setting becomes unfavorable for the growth of children. Having a strained marriage affects the manner in which the two parents carry out their parenting roles. Some parents may choose to vent their anger onto the children adversely affecting their stability.
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Both divorce and choosing to stay together may affect the well-being of children. Divorce compels children to readjust to a single-parent family. The transition from a family with both parents to a single parent family can be overwhelming for children. However, there are similar effects if couples stay together without resolving their conflicts. The parental conflict that the children witness affects them negatively. Since both divorce and the choice to remain together can have adverse effects on children, parents need to consider all the factors critically before filing for divorce. Some of the factors to consider when comparing these options include the gender of children, their temperament, their ability to adjust, as well as their attachment to both parents (Goldberg & Carlson, 2014). The gender of the child is a critical determinant of the level of attachment that children will have with either of the parents. For instance, daughters who have a close relationship with their fathers may suffer adversely if the father leaves. Similarly, if children enjoy the family bond, they are likely to feel lost when one parent leaves.
The age of children is a critical factor because it determines their ability to understand the issues at hand. For children between six and ten years, they are less likely to understand the factors that motivate parents to file for divorce. As a result, they may blame either of the parents after a divorce. Parents should also consider the possibility of family counseling and marital educations in helping them overcome their conflicts if they choose to remain together (Cohen & Weitzman, 2016). The willingness of parents to work together in raising their children properly irrespective of their marital problems is also a major determinant. The welfare of children is a critical aspect to consider before filing for divorce. Parents should give attention to the needs of their children before making decisions surrounding divorce. If they choose to file for divorce, they should be willing to participate in a core-parenting arrangement that meets the needs of children.
- Cohen, G. J., & Weitzman, C. C. (2016). Helping children and families deal with divorce and separation. Pediatrics, 138(6), 103-111.
- Goldberg, J., & Carlson, M. (2014). Parents’ relationship quality and children’s behavior in stable married and cohabiting families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(4), 762-777.