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Exam long answer question divorce.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Lina Samuel

Childrens’ Adjustment to Divorce- Furstenberg Frank F. and Andrew J. Cherlin - Some children do well after divorce and some children do poorly - Divorce is not an event that starts when the husband or wife moves out of their home; it’s a slow process that unfolds over time. o There may be months or years of fighting before the actual divorce o Mickey at school start showing signs of bad behaviour before the divorce took place and his teach asked Helen if everything was okay at home - The Berkeley researchers suggest that conflict between parents is a fundamental factor that harms children’s development and produces behavioural problems - Much depends on how the process unfolds after the separation and how children cope with it o Nearly all children are extremely upset, an unwelcome shock o Preschoolers see it as their fault their parents separated but older children are able to understand that it’s not their fault  Depends on the child’s age o Bad behaviour of children is usually never a reason for a divorce Short-term adjustment - Psychologists P. Lindsay Cahse-Lansdale and E. Mavis Heterington say the first two years after the divorce is the ‘crisis period’ o The crisis begin for children with shock, anxiety and anger when hearing about the breakup o Children have two special needs during the crisis period; need additional support as they struggle to adapt to the breakup and a daily structured routine  Depressed anxious parents lack to comfort children and let daily schedules slip, like Helen has o Crisis period is worse for boys than girls o There are two types of behaviour problems among children  1) externalizing disorders: directed outwards, aggression, lying, disobedience  2) internalizing disorders: directed inwards, depression, anxiety, withdrawal Long-term adjustment - Less is known about long-term adjustment - In 2-3 years most parents and children recover from crisis period, parent-child relationships generally improve - Some children suffer long term harm - Painful memories will not impair children’s functioning as adults o If their parents didn’t divorce, the children would probably hold onto memories of a conflict ridden marriage, would that mean they’re better off? - Long term harmful effects only occur to a minority of children - Children’s responses to the breakup of the marriage vary greatly What Makes a Difference? - Critical factor in short-term and long-term adjustment is how the custodial parent, usually the mother, functions as a parent - Difficult for a recently separated mother, like Helen o Mothers may feel angry, depressed, sad, a lot of this due to financial problems usually  Loss of fathers income is disruptive, adjustment in standard of living - Second factor in children’s well-being is low level of conflict between their mother and father o NSC study finds children are better off if their parent’s divorce than if they stay in a unhappy marriage  Not the case all the time, it could be that one spouse is unhappy and wants the divorce - Third factor for children’s well-being is the maintenance of a continuing relationship with the non-custodial parent, who is usually the father o Just because father’s maintain good relationship with child doesn’t mean child will not become deviant  Formerly married parents have to developed a collaborative style of child rearing so children will be better off in the long run o The more the father’s visit the more child support they pay Does Custody Make a Difference for Children? - First there was a belief that father’s involvement is beneficial to children so they adopted joint- custody o
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