Falling Through The Cracks: Children Of Divorce Essay

This essay has a total of 1225 words and 5 pages.

Falling Through The Cracks: Children Of Divorce

Regardless of age, race, sex or religion, divorce has devastating, often long-term,
consequences. The immediate effects of divorce, such as hurt, anger and confusion, are
evident in both children and adults. The longer-term effects are not so easy to pin
point.Adults are usually able to articulate their emotions and verbalize their distress,
anger, pain and confusion to help themselves through this period of transition in their
lives. As well, adults have the means and ability to seek outside professional assistance
independently. Children on the other hand, are not as likely to have the ability to
identify the source or kind of turmoil they are experiencing. Therefore, it is difficult
for us, as adults, to be fully aware of the consequences of divorce on our children.It is
estimated that nearly one half of children born today will spend time in a single parent
household. Although some of these children are born into single parent families, many more
are the product of divorce, and are made to endure the conflict and emotional upset that
divorce brings about. At this time, when children require stability and emotional support,
the pressures of growing up are often compounded by the stress of divorce and family
breakdown.When divorce involves children many questions must be answered. Questions such
as: With whom will the children live? How often will the non-custodial parent have access,
and under what circumstances? Although simple to ask, these questions are never easy to
answer, and children frequently become pawns in a game of revenge. Today, mothers make up
the majority of parents who are awarded custody, with fathers making up only 13%. However,
this was not always the case. Prior to the 19th century, fathers, under English common law
followed in North America , received automatic custody of their children when the marriage
dissolved. During the 19th century gradual change occurred. Mothers were first given
custody of young children and eventually of older children as well. Today, the trend is
changing again, with many couples opting for, or courts ordering, joint custody.Several
studies have been done to decipher which custody situation provides the most security and
stability for children of divorced families, but it remains that each situation is unique
and the individuality of the child(ren) must be the top consideration in making these
arrangements.The decision for a couple to divorce is, at best, an emotionally difficult
and exhausting time. The decision is most difficult when there are children involved.
Present estimates predict that half of all marriages will end in divorce, with sixty
percent of these marriages involving children. Some couples will delay the decision to
divorce until the children are grown, in an attempt to avoid placing undue stress on them.
However, during this time, many parents become emotionally withdrawn and are unable to
provide their children with the support that they require. Depressed and angry parents
often find themselves unable to provide the emotional comfort their children crave, and
some are so caught up in their own pain that they are not even aware of their children's.
Likewise, parents who suddenly find themselves overburdened by their increased workload
may let their routines and schedules slip and ultimately the child(ren) once again lose
support. Divorce is typically followed by a "crisis period" typically lasting for two to
three years. This crisis period is commonly composed of three crises: emotional crisis,
economic crisis, and parenting crisis. This crisis period is usually worse for boys, and
brings with it two general types of behaviour problems among children: externalizing
disorders and internalizing disorders. Girls are more likely to suffer the internalizing
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