Divorce Essay Research Paper DivorceDivorce rates in

Divorce Essay, Research Paper


Divorce rates in the United States have increased dramatically in the

past 25 years. Over 40 percent of the marriages among young Americans will end

in divorce. There is a lot of stress on all the people involved. The man has

to deal with, usually, not seeing his children, being alone, and the

responsibility that is accompanied with much of the legal process. The wife has

to go through, maybe, entering the work force for the first time. Children are

often viewed as a back burner issue but more often than none they are the center

piece of discussion. The children may begin feeling inadequate around their

friends and even in personal esteem. Feeling like it is their fault they might

get depressed or perhaps even rebellious. Regardless, divorce is an activity

that has become common place in today’s family structure, behavior, and morality.

When two people meet and decide their love is strong enough to carry

them to the next level marriage is usually the out come. Sometimes they decide

to have children and sometimes they don’t, but when they do, it usually brings

them closer together. All parents have desires and hopes for their children.

The way in which parents achieve these ends can differ. Researchers do not

agree on which of the child-raising practices is best. But it is known that

parents provide role models for their children and that children rely on their

parents to teach them about the world.

When a culture’s values and traditions undergo a rapid change it becomes

difficult to decide which attitudes and beliefs children should be taught. As

one researcher has stated, ?today’s children are the first generation to be

raised amid doubt about the role prescriptions that have long gone unchallenged.

This makes their socialization especially difficult. Traditionally,

socialization was a process of raising the young to fill major roles in society

when the present incumbents vacated them. Yet today we do not know what type of

society our children will inherit, nor the roles for which they should be

prepared. ?(pp.34) Divorce along married couples is the most well-documented

and studied of the various ways relationships end. According to Dworetzky:

Divorce rates in the United States have increased dramatically in the

past 25 years. According to current assessments, over 40 percent of

marriages among young Americans will end in divorce, of the children born

in the last ten years, almost 50 percent will spend on an average of six

years in a one-parent household. Nine out of ten children will reside

with their mothers. Between 9 and 11million school-age children in the

United States live in one-parent families. About one-half of all divorces

occur within the first seven years of marriage with the first two to

three years being an especially vulnerable time period for

divorce.(pp.47-63) The actual rate of divorce may only represent a small amount

of the problem. It is unknown how many marriages end in non legal separations

or how many married people stay together in an empty, essentially dissolved,

relationship for the children’s sake.

Of course, you do not have to be married to experience a separation from

a close relationship. ?If we add to the official divorce rate the number of

cohabitation couples who break up, those who terminate their engagements to

marry, break-up, steady dating partner, or otherwise bow out of a relationship,

several million couples end intimate relationships each year.2?(pp.27-28,30)

So, why do people separate? Unmarried couples give us a number of

reasons for separation. In one study, researchers followed over 200 couples for

a three year period. ?During this period of time, more that one-half of them

ended the relationship. Seventy-eight percent of the men and women listed

boredom as the major reason for the separation.(Kolata: pp, 42) Apparently

their romantic, passionate love had lost it’s power and there was little else

between them. Couples reported other differences in several areas as caused for

breaking up, including differences in interests, hobbies, outside of the home

activities, religion, intelligence, and education. ?Almost two-sixth percent of

the men and women felt their sexual attitudes contributed to the separation.

Arguments about the frequency and types of sexual activities became major

barriers to living happily together.3?(pp.139-160)

Among married couples, similar issues are the reason why people have

other problems. An important wife should stay with in the traditional roles;

that is, the man earns a living and the wife stays home and takes care of the

house. There are conflicts when women begin having different desires. ?In

addition, when married women work, they are still expected to do more than their

fair share of household and childbearing chores. In effect, they find

themselves with two full time jobs.?(pp. 98-104: ?Understanding?) Conflicts

over roles is becoming an important factor in whether married couples remain


Separations present two challenges to our ability to adjust. On one

hand we must cope with the additional stress that enters our lives. Studies of

divorced men and women, for example, provide a number of illustrations of the

types of stress to which people must adjust. ?Divorced men often find

themselves working longer hours to meet alimony payments. Since courts usually

award the mother the custody of children, men have longer periods of separation

from them. Men also find they dislike spending time alone. Many divorced women

find themselves in the working field for the first time making less money than

their husband did. Feeling helpless, lost, isolated and in a deep state of

depression they soon feel trapped by the children and the new responsibility put

on them.? (pp.56-63: Psychology Today) The division to divorce, the process of

a divorce, and the postdivorce adjustment, are all very stressful. It is not

uncommon for the divorced partner to experience hurt, resentment, and anger. To

many people, divorce signifies failure in an extremely important relationship.

Lowwer self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness and reduction are also common

and stress producing results. If children are involved, the stress can be even

greater. Researchers now believe that the most important influence on the

emotional health of children its the quality of their relationships within their

family, however that family might be structured, according to Robert Every, a

psychologist at the University of Virginia. For example, psychologists used to

think that boys needed their father within the home until at least age of seven

or eight. Now, they have discovered that the physical presence of a father in

the family are warm and supporting adults. This shift occurred partly in

recognition of the changing American family and the changing demographics of

divorce. The focus on relationships also means that if divorced parents are

angry and bitter, children will suffer and they will suffer more if they are

exposed more to the conflict through joint custody.4?(pp.20-46) Parent-child

interactions may become difficult, because the children of divorced families

tend to exhibit more inappropriate behavior that those in intact homes.

Many children respond with anger and fear to divorce. It is also common

for children who do feel guilty or in some way responsible for the divorce and

to become withdrawn and depressed.

?Most children can adapt to a divorce within a couple of years, but, if

the crisis is aggravated by additional stresses or conflicts, serious

developmental disruptions may result. Whether children fare well may depend on

their temperament, their past experience, their age, and the support they

receive from their parents .5?(pp. 189-197) Such parental support is often

lacking, because parents are so wrapped up in their own problems during a

divorce that their ability to function as parents diminishes. ?Although

children may fare well in single-parent families, the chances increase that they

will face problems. There are many stresses associated with divorce. These

include the disruption of bedtimes and eating schedules, the effects of the

parents emotional state, and the lessening of adult contact. Also, the level of

income in the household usually decreases, and this may produce more stress.

Less income may require the parent to move, which in turn may cause the child to

behave to change of schools or move to a poorer neighborhood with a higher rate

of crime and delinquency.?(pp. 170-174)

Divorce is happening every day to couples in the United States. The

only problem, is that the couple thinks they are the only ones going through it

when almost twenty-two percent of adult America is also. When parents get

divorced the children get divorced too. Children and adolescents face a lot of

stress during their lives, but divorce is very confusing, speaking from personal

experience. It can be too much stress to peoples’ lives but they also present

opportunities to form new relationships and to strengthen existing ones.

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