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Children Of Divorce And Behavioral Issues

1125 words - 5 pages

Over the last 70 years, divorce has become a normal occurrence in homes across the country. Even children whose parents are married can be exposed to divorce in a number of places: television, newspapers, magazines, school, and their friends. Those children who are put through the agonizing experience of a divorce are far more likely to have physical and emotional problems compared to those living in a home with happily married parents. One of the most documented changes in children from before and after divorce are behavioral problems. Children of divorce are more likely to have behavioral issues because of increased financial hardships, parenting discrepancies between homes, and stress ...view middle of the document...

More often than not the only options for single parents are neighborhoods with “high crime rates, low-quality schools, and few community services,” (Amato). Besides living in these less than satisfactory neighborhoods, parents often leave their children unattended because of the high cost of child care. Urie Bronfenbrener speaks of these child care facilities saying that, “They’re expensive for those who can afford them, and practically nonexistent for those who can’t,” (Andrew). When left without supervision, children are much more likely to act out and make poor decisions than they would under the care of an adult.
The financial struggles and the impact they have on children of divorced parents can be limited by court ordered child support. Studies have shown that when child support is paid, children show fewer behavioral problems (Amato). However, many times the nonresidential parent refuses to pay the support payments and court costs can be too expensive to get an order put in place. A young mother, divorced for five years, says it best in regards to her ex-husband, “… any time he wants to stop paying, I will have no recourse. Yeah, I’d have to put him in jail, but there’s no way I could really get my money,” (Andrew). Overall, it is clear that financial hardship after divorce not only impacts children physically, but also emotionally and it clearly comes through in their behavior.
Often when children move back and forth between their separated parents’ homes there are differences in their style of parenting. This negatively impacts the child’s behavior. More times than not, after a divorce, one parent becomes more strict than the other in discipline. Single parents tend to have fewer rules, yet give out harsher punishments than parents in a married home (Amato). When there is leniency at one home children tend to favor that parent and dislike the other. Meredith, a 14 year-old with divorced parents gave a statement regarding her parents and their discipline. “My relationship with my parents has changed because now my mother does all the disciplining and sometimes she resents it—especially when we tell her how much fun we have with Dad. It’s as if it’s all fun and games with him,” (Zinsmeister).
Cooperative parenting is essential for positive behavior in children of divorce. Several studies have connected parenting discrepancies with conduct problems (Amato). When separated parents agree on...

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