What About The Kids?

The effects of the divorce on the children involved

There is no doubt that one of the difficult tasks of divorce is to continue to maintain joint parenting despite the divorce and to maintain the parental system and here you can find the reasons:

There is a large body of research on the effects and implications of the divorce on the children involved, apparently because of the sense of responsibility among researchers and professionals for these children, who are third parties and helpless persons who get caught up in a divorce (defined as a bulwark of risk situations) against their will.In general, children do not welcome their parents' decision to divorce and must adapt to the situation in a way that requires them to perform difficult psychological tasks and are at greater risk for emotional difficulties. Studies show that divorce has far-reaching effects on the emotional state of the children of the divorces, taking into account the various variables (such as age and gender of the child and the intensity of the conflict between parents).

For example, differences were found between boys and girls in relation to their response to and adjustment to divorce. It was found that boys with more difficulties expressing dissatisfaction, behavioral disorders, aggressive depression, impulsivity, quarrels with peers, exacerbate conflicts. The boys receive less support from mothers because of their demanding behavior that requires mothers to have physical and mental power to deal with them. In the divorce process, the boys deteriorate socially, emotionally and scholastically. On the other hand, most girls improve after two years of learning, emotional and social divorce, but express their difficulties in divorcing psychosomatic symptoms (depression or irritability and frustration with physical expression); girls also use the school staff in times of crisis and try to minimize conflicts to maintain harmony family. In many cases, the girls in the divorce process are influenced by the mother’s behavior (worse and / or better) than their father's. However, if the father figure grows less involved, it will be expressed in a low self-image that accompanies them over time.

Studies have found that the higher the level of conflict between parents, the greater the effects of the divorce, and the fact that early frank talks about the divorce (as a traumatic event) may give them immediate relief from the distress created. Rabin and Eldar-Avidan note (each in her book) that the conflict between the parents and their decision to divorce has a significant impact on their children. Children experience frustration, fear, and anxiety that affect them emotionally, educational, behavioral, social, and disruptive relationships with their parents. The children's coping was better when parents gave them reliable information about the divorce process. Although parents cannot always answer all of their children's questions, it is important to convey to the child the confidence that both parents will continue to care for him. Similarly, Butler, Schenlin, Robinson, Douglas, and Murch found that children who received information from their parents about the divorce process were better able to cope with the separation crisis than those who were not informed and were constantly uncertain about what was going on around them. Many researchers have examined the long-term effects of divorce on children. For example, Wallerstein, Lewis and Blaxley note that the effects of divorce are long-term and children who grew up in divorce families are less adaptive in adulthood than those who grew up in whole families.

In addition, from the children's perspective, the divorce is a cumulative experience. Their effect increases over time and reaches its peak when the children are already adults. At every developmental stage, children re-experience divorce. Ahrons found that the relationship between the parents can affect the children twenty years after the divorce. Parents, whose relationship continued to be impaired even after the divorce and the conflict between them continued, their children spoke of distress and not particularly inferior in events such as graduation ceremony wedding etc. Conversely, parents whose relationship after divorce was stable and their children reported a stable relationship or relationship that improved over time.

Researchers and professionals have suggested different typologies of couples in the divorce conflict, based on various components such as commitment to child welfare, communication between spouses, their relationship to divorce decisions, the level and intensity of conflict between spouses, marital dynamics and the nature of marital relationships. At the same time, Cohen, Luxembourg, Datner and Metz saw fit to point out that theoretical knowledge and discussion do not reduce the complexity of the divorce conflict and human nature, requiring professionals to remember that each pair and individual are unique in a way that each case must be examined on its merits. Eldar-Avidan notes that one of the most significant factors affecting children's adjustment to divorce is the relationship between the parents after the divorce, because joint parenting requires communication between two people who are in fact not interested in continuing their relationship. However, it is important to emphasize that Adar-Avidam notes that the most significant factor is continuous parental functioning with the custodial parent. On the other hand, Amato, Kane & Spencer suggest reconsidering the concept of good divorce. Their research indicates that good relationships and co-parenting are MUST for a “good divorce," but this is not enough to prevent or reduce the totality of the damage caused to children by divorce. The effects of additional and objective stressors, such as changes in the standard of living, change of residence, and integration with their parents' new spouses, are not nullified by the good relationship with both parents and parents. Their empirical study indicated that parental cooperation was better with children who had less behavioral problems and had a closer relationship with their fathers, but in other parameters the good divorce did not have significant effects on children. In addition, a correlation was found between this significant task and the typology of parents' divorces and the definition of their quality as good / bad. For example, studies have begun to identify, in children, divorced parents strengths, coping abilities and coping methods that attest to their mental strength.

Studies have found that the children of the divorces move on the continuum of adaptation between vulnerability, survivability and resilience. When the essential difference between these profiles is the quality of the relationship between the parents and their children. In other words, close, meaningful and supportive relationships with the custodial parent and reasonable and even good relationships with the non-custodial parent reduce the damage caused to children by the divorce crisis. A study found that divorced children who expressed resilience interpreted the divorce as a significant and empowering change, assessed its benefits and their parents' contribution to their development and identity. All this, without canceling the pain or the crisis and its effects, but in a way that the overall perception of the divorce was "profit" rather than "loss ".The study found several parameters that enable resilience among children who are divorced:

  1. A. Good parental relationship with one of the parents: The quality of the relationship between the child and the custodial parent was found to be the most important factor affecting the strength of the divorce children.
  2. Significant contact with an adult: who do not have to be a family member, but it is preferable that it be one of both parents.
  3. Internal forces and resources, ego forces.
  4. External resources. Of course all these parameters can work synergistically and allow children to emerge from the crisis in a strengthened form with capabilities and other capabilities.

In conclusion, research and theoretical discussion tend to focus on the extremes (endpoints), but in reality the results of the divorce crisis are not necessarily dichotomous. Without eliminating or reducing the pain of the divorce crisis, a realistic description of most divorces will move at different times across the spectrum between vulnerability, survival and resilience. Similarly, Eldar-Avidan found in her study complex responses of children of divorcees, which contain the positive aspects of resilience and the painful characteristics that characterize vulnerability. Many of the children were found at different points across the continuum between vulnerability, survival and resilience and survived the crisis at a good level of functioning but with an experience of pain and grief that affects their world and their lives.