Faller (1990a) reports on her clinical experience with 196 stepfathers, biological fathers, and noncustodial fathers. The noncustodial fathers are said to begin abusing their children after the separation, during visitation. Faller believes an angry, bewildered, and/or emotionally devastated father may seek affection and comfort from his child that this interaction may become sexualized. The father may regress under the stress of the divorce and may therefore feel more comfortable with an immature sex object. In addition, an angry father may retaliate against his wife by sexually abusing the child.
Theshort-term effects ona child after the divorce of parents are not always easy. There aredifferenteffects on a child depending on the reason for the divorce. Sometimeschildrenunderstand more than adults might give them credit for. Children learnnot onlyfrom what they hear, but also from what they see. Children understandthedifference between happiness and sadness, so when they see anotherfamilysmiling and they see their own family frowning with tears in theireyes, theystart understanding the reason behind their parents’ divorce. When thedivorceis the result of the unhappiness, which it normally is, the childrenbecomeunhappy.
Base rates for the presence of problem behaviors in normalchildren, in troubled children, in nonabused children, in children whose parentsare divorcing, and as part of the developmental process for all children, are sohigh that any attempt to use these behaviors as signs indicating abuse willresult in a high rate of error. This does not mean that adults should nottry to identify and aid children who show signs of distress. But theprofessional must not immediately conclude that sexual abuse is the cause of theproblem behaviors.
This is a great addition to the understanding of the attachment process and provides a stronger platform for the discussion on how this bond can be affected in the event of a separation or divorce. Lastly, Siebel expanded on socio-psychological views on divorce that were only briefly mentioned in the original text.
The commentary uses the term as if it were synonymous with the child's end behaviors and assumes that divorce can therefore alter (or eliminate?) the "attachment style." In the original paper, I used the term to describe the predisposition to certain behaviors and how this can then determine the child's adjustment to either the strange situation procedure or divorce, which is a very different usage from that of the peer commentary. The second commentary by Hintz goes in depth about how attachment bonds are formed from the infant's first 6 weeks to about 2 years of age.
Start your work with choosing an appropriate topic of your research. If analyzing the general effects of divorce on children in modern society seems to you too broad or too hard to deal with, you can choose a topic like analyzing divorce rates and tendencies in modern inter-race marriages, or analyze the divorce rates among American families of Hispanic origin, etc. You can study the influences of religious beliefs on divorce rates in various society, or research how such factor as the number of children in the family is linked to divorce rates in modern America society.
As thenumbers of divorces filed each decade have increased, psychologistshave becomevery interested in how divorce affects a child mentally, physically,andemotionally. They have also studied long term and short-termeffects ofdivorce on children. For example, according to some reports,childrenfrom divorced homes are more likely to become divorcedthemselves. Conversely, other studies indicate that the quality of the post divorcehome ismore responsible for subsequent development in children than thedivorce itself(Del Campo, 2004). With mixed results like these, it is hard forpsychologists to tell for sure whether divorce has either a positive ornegative effect on children. As a result, this section willpresent bothsides of the issue.
But the more general conclusion--in the earlier meta-analysis as well as in the present one--is that most of the disadvantages associated with divorce are similar for boys and girls. These findings imply that the stress on the children is equal, although they may show it in differing ways.
Amato's (2001) follow up study also goes to great lengths to show that current trends in gender differences are not as severe as they were once thought to be. Short-term outcomes for children from divorced families seem to be troubled, but the outcome becomes increasingly optimistic as the children age and mature (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989).
In a follow-up study 10 years after the divorce, however, the youngest children were adjusting to their new environments and interactions better than siblings who were older at the time of the divorce.Children's Adjustment and the Factor of Sex. Gender difference between children in a divorce plays a very important role in how they adjust.
On the positive side, children from divorced families have been showntobenefit from their parents divorce if each parent is able tocommunicateeffectively with each other and with their children. In addition,theparents must keep the children out of any squabbles unless it concernsthemdirectly, such as in a custody decision. In these situations,childrenare more likely to do well during the divorce and are more likely tonotexhibit many negative effects. On the negative side, however,children mayfeel that they have to choose sides or are still seeing tension betweenparents, which in the child’s eyes was supposed to be solved in thedivorce. In these situations children may rebel or even gothrough aperiod of depression.
With such a wide spectrum of effects and situations, most psychologistsagreethat children having or lacking a sense of stability and a strong senseoffamily can help indicate whether a child will benefit or be at adisadvantageas a result of the divorce (Delcampo, 2004). In this paper, wewilldiscuss the long-term and short-term effects on children as a result ofdivorce, and the positive and negative effects within thosecategories. We will also present suggestions teachers or caregivers can use whenworkingwith children that are going through a family divorce.
A few writers claim some parents are more likely to begin sexually abusing their children after the divorce, either to retaliate against the divorcing spouse or because the stress of the divorce results in more impulsive behavior. MacFarlane (1986) believes that a parent who is feeling rejected may be vulnerable to the acceptance and affection of a very young child and use the child to fulfill emotional needs. A man who has a history of only heterosexual behavior may reach out to his child sexually under the stress and loneliness of the divorce. Corwin et al. (1987) assert that the various stresses in a divorce are more likely to lead to actual abuse than to false allegations. They suggest the losses, stresses, and overall negative impact of separation and divorce may lead to regressive acting out by parents, including sexual abuse. At least one article suggests that women may sexually abuse children when there has been a significant experience of loss which could be a marriage dissolution (Wakefield, Rogers, & Underwager, 1990).