The institution of marriage is designed to last for far longer than its common shelf life in the modern age. Marriage has been seen as sacred and treated as a lasting bond that could only be severed by death or some other misfortune. In modern times it has become far more common to dissolve a marriage than to suffer through the continuation of a deteriorating relationship. The lasting impact that the act of divorce has upon a husband and wife does not fully equate with the effects felt by their children. The effects of divorce impact children much differently than adults.
Divorce is a very serious matter that affects millions of individuals. America is among the top ten countries in the world that has a substantial divorce rate, standing currently at a little over fifty percent (Plunkett, 2014). This means that for every two marriages in the USA one of them will inevitably fail. For the wife and husband it might well be a means of correcting a mistake that should have never been made. Unfortunately if they have children such a mistake is only likely to be compounded.
Depending upon the age of the children it is likely that they will not understand the
reason why their parents are no longer able to live with one another. Feelings of resentment,
depression, and anger can often occur in children who feel that they must either find a way to
reunite their parents or choose who they will live with. While it is dependent upon how amicable
the divorce proceedings are, the psychological damage done to children during a divorce is
typically quite substantial. In some cases the process is too much for a child to understand and
requires therapy and counseling sessions to insure that the children do not internalize their feelings in regard to their parents’ split.
The onset of any divorce usually sees the child confused, hurt, and in some cases terrified that their life will not be the same. Far too often adults are concerned with their own issues resulting from a split to take into account what is happening to their children. Many children feel that a divorce is their fault, that they have done something wrong, and that they are the problem (St. Lifer, 2016). The lack of life experience leaves many younger children emotionally unstable and even scarred for years to come.
Adolescents experiencing the blowback of their parents’ divorce are no less affected, but tend to react in different ways. Not as emotionally unstable as a younger child, adolescents tend to withdraw from the world as they seek a way to deal with the hurt and uncertainty of the situation. Their reactions are far more composed at times, as their powers of reasoning and coping have reached a higher level of maturity. This in turn allows an adolescent to handle the effects of a divorce with slightly less emotion than a younger child.
From the perspective of the parent’s divorce is no less difficult, but the impact is often
not as emotionally or psychologically devastating. By adulthood most individuals have developed coping mechanisms to enable them to weather intense emotional trauma in their own ways. For a parent going through a divorce the issue often becomes more a matter of who will take what, and in the event that the parents have children, custody will often become a very pressing concern. Whether the situation is looked at from the view of the husband or the wife it is important to note that any divorce and how it proceeds is dependent upon the individuals involved and how they decide to conduct themselves during such a trying time.
How Society Views Divorce
It is unfortunate that divorce has become such a prevalent practice in modern day society,
but the process has changed the composition of what has been deemed the average family.
Families that were at one time considered normal because of their inclusion of a mother, father, and children as the core of the family unit are now the exception rather than the norm in many regions. While divorce is still considered to be an undesired event in any marriage, it has necessitated the change in existing family dynamics. In the current era such terms as “blended family” are far more accepted than ever before and have become a common occurrence throughout society.
In breaking from a traditional family model the impact upon the children within a broken family is far more pronounced than that of the adults. Despite the fact that society is no longer firmly against divorce it is still considered normal to teach children what to expect according to a family dynamic. When that family is unable to adhere to the societal norms that are present it becomes confusing and very difficult to understand what is expected and how children should react to their situation. Divorce has the effect of challenging any and all social norms that have been long established, and only then does it become an issue (Glaser, 2014).
Divorce creates fragmented and blended families. Entirely new family structures are by far and large a step away from the normal patterns of family that society has established (Fagan & Rector, 2016). While none of these new and sometimes necessary models are perfect they are often adopted to accommodate the needs of a family that has suffered through a divorce. For the sake of everyone involved stability must be reached in whatever way is possible.
Society does not condemn divorce, but it serious enough to be frowned upon. The lasting impacts can be seen largely upon children but also upon adults. Marriages can end without much fanfare. The psychological damage left behind however lasts for much longer.
Fagan, P.F. PhD & Rector, R. (2016). The Effects of Divorce on America. The Heritage
Foundation. Retrieved from
Glaser, K. (2014). Threatening the Fabric of Our Society: Divorce in Modern Societies.
Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4(1): 1-5.
Plunkett, M. (2014). World’s 10 Most Divorced Nations. The Richest. Retrieved from
St. Lifer, H. (2016). 11 Rules for Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce. Parents.