Running Head: WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 1What are the effects of divorce on the intellectual and emotional development of children?Valeria I. FloresNorthern Collegiate Institute and Vocational SchoolHHS4U1Families in CanadaMr. LakeyMonday, January 22, 2018WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 2 Before Henry VIII divorced his wife and married his mistress, the mere idea of divorce was never spoken of. Even after the Henry affair in 1552, it wasn’t until 1857 that divorce law was enacted in England. Nowadays, divorce is very common. By 2005, Canada had 71,269 divorces.
Around 1.2 million of separated or divorced canadians have children (Government of Canada, 2017). Divorce affects children deeply. The effects of divorce on the intellectual and emotional development of children are mostly negative. These effects include a strain in the relationship between the parents and the children, setbacks in the child’s general development, as well as a change in the behaviour of the children. One of negative effects divorce has on children is the strain it creates between the parents and the children. A divorce is a long, difficult process. Depending on the age of the children, the process is different.
The age of children, for example, can affect the end result of custody (Child Access and Custody: Divorce Act, 2017). If a child is old enough, the court lets him choose with whom will he live. This kind of decision causes a strain in the relationship with the parent the child didn’t choose, and puts a lot of pressure on the child. The longer it takes for the divorce to be official, the longer it takes the children to adjust to their new situation.
In order to adjust properly, the children need to understand the full extent of what is happening (Gross, 2015). However, parents often think that by not talking to the children, they’re somehow shielding them from the negative impact of the truth. The child starts to feel alone and only makes the divorce more complicated for the child’s mind.
During the divorce process, children are in need of much attention since they have a tendency to feel isolated due to the feelings of uncertainty that a WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 3divorce brings (Effect of Divorce on Children, 2017). The divorce is a life changing event in a child’s life. The child is forced to witness things that make him feel confused and frustrated. The child has to adjust to going back and forth between the parents, the daily absence of one of the parents, the break of the commitment, and the loss of love (Pickhardt, 2011). This difficult situation often causes the child to blame himself or the parents, which creates a strain in the relationship. Another problem with the impact divorce has on children is the setbacks in children’s general development.
Divorce is overwhelming, and takes a lot of energy out of the parents. They are busy, and often don’t pay enough attention to the children. The child starts to feel isolated and affects his development.
Children require a lot of attention during and after a divorce. They start to feel like they don’t matter as much anymore so they often revert back to a former way of functioning, to things that took more parental-care such as bedwetting and tantrums (Pickhardt, 2011). Divorce can impact children negatively in education. They start to get distracted in class, their grades drop, and they start to rely on wishful thinking (Gross, 2015). The child focuses on the idea of a possible reconciliation, in that maybe the entire thing will solve itself and nothing will have to change, or that if it changes, it won’t be for long.
This kind of wishful thinking causes the child to fall behind on his classes and sets him up for disappointment in the future. This thinking is encouraged by situations such as family celebrations and holiday events in which the parents present themselves joined to recreate family closeness. While the parents’ intentions are often to make the divorce easier on the child, it WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 4causes a delay in adjustment (Pickhardt, 2011). Because of the experiences children have to go through during their parents’ divorce, it often results in more trouble with dating, more chances of divorce later in life, and less desire to have children in the future. Divorce changes children’s lives and it causes development setbacks that will only make the children’s lives harder. Lastly, divorce causes a change in the behaviour of the children. While children often revert back to old ways, they also develop dependency or independency, depending of the age.
According to information released by the Government of Canada, children’s reaction to divorce can vary depending on their age and “their stage of emotional or physical development” (2017). The biggest distinction in the reactions related to age is between adolescents and school-age children. Children often feel out of control since they have no option in the divorce. They experience distress and their behaviour is usually regressive (Gross, 2015). On the other hand, adolescents’ behaviour becomes aggressive and are withdrawn from their parents. For children, the dependency towards the parents increases while the adolescent becomes more independent. This can also cause a strain in the relationship between siblings.
Parents’ are the children focus point of social life. For the child, a divorce creates unfamiliarity, instability, and insecurity, never being able to be with one parent without having to be apart from the other. For adolescents, the focus of social life has shifted from parents to friends. The adolescent is already experiencing independence and a divorce causes him to rely more on himself due to feelings of betrayal and mistrust (Pickhardt, 2011). This difference in the focus of the social life is one of the reasons WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 5why adolescents and children react differently.
Either way, however, there’s a clear change in behaviour that results from the divorce. Divorce is not as cut and dry or as rare as it was in Henry VIII’s time. Divorce is everywhere in present society. It happens to a significant amount of people, and, while it is normalized, the impact it has on the children’s intellectual and emotional development is important to consider whenever making a decision of that magnitude. Divorce creates a strain between the parents and the children, it sets back a child’s general development and it changes the behaviour of the children.
The consequences are not to be taken lightly. Divorce is a major event in a person’s life and needs to be carefully thought through.WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN? 6ReferencesChild Access and Custody: Divorce Act. (n.d.). Retrieved December 19, 2017, from http://www.separation.
ca/custody/divorce-actEffects of Divorce on Children. (n.d.). Retrieved December 19, 2017, from https://www.children-and-divorce.com/effects-of-divorce-on-children.
htmlGovernment of Canada. (2017, September 19). Divorce: Guide to the latest information. Statistics Canada. Retrieved December 19, 2017, fromhttps://www.statcan.gc.
ca/eng/help/bb/info/divorceGross, D. G. (2015, March 12). The Impact of Divorce on Children of Different Ages. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://www.
huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-impact-of-divorce-on-children-of-diffeRent-ages_b_6820636.htmlPickhardt, C. (2011, December 19). The Impact of Divorce on Young Children and Adolescents. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201112/the-iMpact-divorce-young-children-and-adolescents