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DIVORCE NEGATIVELY AFFECTS CHILDREN: STATS


Children get emotionally scarred and traumatized from divorce.


Children and Divorce: A report on educating students from divorced and single-parent homes by the NEA Standing Committee on Instruction and Professional Development:


The majority of research studies indicate that, for children, divorce and one-parent homes mean a higher risk of having problems in school. For example, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the Kettering Foundation’s Institute for the Development of Educational Activities (I/D/E/A) conducted a three-year study of 18,000 students from fourteen states which concluded that -- As a group, one-parent children show lower achievement and present more discipline problems than do their two-parent peers in both elementary and high school. They are also absent more often, late to school more often, and may show more health problems as well. The research most frequently cited in the educational literature about how divorce affects children is that of Judith S. Wallerstein and Joan B. Kelly (54) whose comprehensive study is known as the Children of Divorce Project. Their investigation, which ended in 1979, involved 131 children from 60 California families over a period of five years. They found that one-third of the children experienced learning problems and two-thirds showed noticeable changes in school behavior (http://www.pobct.org/divorce.html).


Children living with a single parent or adult report a higher prevalence of activity limitation and higher rates of disability. They are also more likely to be in fair or poor health and more likely to have been hospitalized (National Center for Health Statistics, 1997).


The "triple threat" of marital conflict, divorce, and out-of-wedlock births has led to a generation of U.S. children at great risk for poverty, health problems, alienation, and antisocial behavior. (Facts About Marital Distress and Divorce, Scott M. Stanley & Howard J. Markman, University of Denver and PREP, Inc.)


Listen to some of these other reports on the ramifications of divorce on children:


"After divorce, children tend to become more emotionally distant from both the custodial and non-custodial parent." [Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 69, reporting the findings of Rossi and Rossi (1991). ]


"This emotional distance between children and parents lasts well into adulthood and may become permanent. As adults, children of divorced parents are half as likely to be close to their parents as are children of intact families. They have less frequent contact with the parent with whom they grew up and much less contact with the divorced parent from whom they have been separated." [Lye et al., "Childhood Living Arrangements and Adult Children’s Relations with Their Parents," pp. 261-280, and William S. Aquilino, "Later-Life Parental Divorce and Widowhood: Impact on Young Adults’ Assessment of Parent-Child Relations," Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 56 (1994), pp. 908-922]


3. "Compared with continuously married mothers, divorced mothers--whether custodial or non-custodial--are likely to be less affectionate and less communicative with their children and to discipline them more harshly and more inconsistently, especially in the first year after the divorce. In particular, divorced mothers have problems with their sons, though their relationship is likely to improve within two years even when some discipline problems persist up to six years after the divorce." [E. Mavis Hetherington, Roger Cox, and Martha Cox, "Long-Term Effects of Divorce and Remarriage on the Adjustment of Children," Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, Vol. 24 (1985), pp. 518-530.]


4. "Divorced mothers, despite their best intentions, are less able than married mothers to give the same level of emotional support to their children." [Jane E. Miller and Diane Davis, "Poverty History, Marital History, and Quality of Children’s Home Environments," Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 59 (1997), pp. 996-1007.]


5. "The quality of the relationship that divorced fathers have with their sons, often troubled before the divorce, tends to become significantly worse after the breakup. Finally, the higher the level of conflict during the divorce, the more likely the distance between father and children afterwards." [Janet Johnston, "High Conflict Divorce," The Future of Children, Vol. 4 (1994), pp. 165-182, and Amato and Booth, A Generation at Risk, p. 68, reporting the findings of numerous ...

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