Effects of Divorce on Development Essay

Divorce is a subject that affects many people of all different cultures, ethnicities, and lifestyles. In America divorce rates differentiate between states. In Panama City, Florida, the divorce rate is 14. 35% for couples over the age of fifteen (Huffington Post 2013). However, in other states, the rate can be as low as 6. 05% (Huffington Post 2013). Considering these statistics, it is safe to assume that divorce is a huge part our lives as Americans. Most people will be able to give a standard definition of the word ‘divorce’ and they will be able to tell you basic repercussions of divorce.

What most people fail to mention is the effects that surface later on in life. When a family is broken up, the whole house feels the change, and with that change comes consequences that do not always seem directly connected. It is important to understand that every individual develops differently. Paul and Margaret Baltes put together an idea that was called the ‘Life-Span Perspective. ‘ This is the idea that human development is multidirectional, multicontextual, multicultural, multidisciplinary and plastic (Baltes et al. , 2006; Staudinger & Lindenberger, 2003).

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Their idea of development being ‘plastic’ means that the brain can be molded depending on circumstances, yet still maintain durability of identity. If a traumatic event occurs and affects the brain, a part of the brain may be altered, causing identity to shift. This shift in identity, depending on what stage the person is in, can cause a relapse in the whole process. Angela Oswalt points out that “Marcia believed that certain situations and events (called “crises”) serve as catalysts prompting movement along this continuum and through the various identity statuses” (Oswalt 010).

Divorce is a stressful and painful endurance for all of those involved, so painful that it has the potential to affect a person’s development for the rest of their lives. Divorce is a very stressful situation for the children. They usually will not understand what is going on. How the parent deals with their interaction with the child will determine the child’s attachment tendencies. These attachment types will heavily influence the person’s ability to form relations, both intimately and friendly.

During Erikson’s sixth stage, intimacy vs. solation, the person will either feel loved or they will feel anxious, Jealous and lonely (Berger, 2011). In an ideal situation, the parents will be able to set aside their romantic life and become co-parents for their child. In order for this to happen, the parents have to be civil with one another. They must be able to communicate about their child and have a healthy relationship. If they can successfully create a safe haven for their child, the child will develop a secure attachment.

A secure attachment means that the child will be able to go to oth parents and not feel like they are being forgotten or in danger (Ainsworth 1973). This type of attachment will be helpful for the child later in life. They will be able to love and be loved because they were introduced to the idea so early in life. Also, having divorced parents that still get along can encourage the child that even if something does not work out, there is also a chance to be happy. In a different situation, the parents interact in a negative way causing the interaction with the child to be difficult.

When the parents are unable to contact each other without violence of ny kind, the child often finds himself being lost in transitions. The parents may be Sabo, Wickel, 2011). Because the child is put in the middle, they may feel as if they are the cause of the problem (Roberson, Sabo, Wickel, 2011). This feeling causes an anxious-ambivalent attachment. This attachment “is a pattern of attachment in which anxiety and uncertainty are evident, as when an infant becomes very upset at separation from the caregiver and both resists and seeks contact on reunion” (Berger 2011).

The child is experiencing a very hard decision. They do not want to go back to he parent because they keep leaving them. This will affect their development because they will be resistant to opening up to people and will probably experience trust issues. When the child is in Erikson’s stage of isolation vs. intimacy, they will feel as if their partner will leave them. The last type of attachment the child may have is avoidant attachment. This attachment is caused by the parents not being able to interact with the child because of the reminder of the broken marriage.

The emotional pain from seeing the child is too much for the parent to handle (Berger 2011). Avoidant attachment “is a pattern in which an infant avoids connection with the caregivers, as when the child seems not to care about the caregivers’ presence, departure, or return” (Berger 2011). The child does not want much to do with the caregivers because they feel like they are the main cause. This feeling of despair will become evident later in life when the child is trying to develop relationships. Because of their personal marriage schema, they will always have the idea of divorce in their heads. If parents are important resources for children’s development, then, all hings being equal, two parents should be better than one” (Amato, Keith 1991). It is quite obvious that raising a child in a single parent household with one income is difficult. When a couple divorces, they are faced with many economic issues. This lack of income may cause the child to not be provided with all the necessities. These necessities include, tuition, schoolbooks, technology in the house and material objects that may help the child make friends. All of these things have repercussions involved that will affect their development.

For example, if the child is not provided ith tuition money, he or she may not be able to attend a good school causing the child to dislike the idea of learning and lose interest. If they cannot keep up with the new toys or sneakers, they will become outcasts and have trouble making friends. If the single parent cannot keep up the lifestyle they were leaving before the divorce, the child may have a hard time adapting. This stressful adaption will cause an instable feeling. Whenever they start to feel comfortable somewhere, they will expect to have to pick up and leave.

In a family, if there is an absent caregiver, if there is an dolescent present, they usually feel as if they have to step up and become an adult for the younger siblings (Berger 2011). The adolescent is speeding up their development and rushing into adulthood. This is a complicated place for an adolescent because in this generation, adolescents are putting off adulthood until the twenties (Santrock 2005). This may cause them to skip out on college. College is a very important time for adolescents. They are given an opportunity to find their identity and create a name for themselves in internships and Job opportunities.

The opic of divorce really hits home with me and my family. Although my parents are still together, I am aware of dozens of couples that file for divorce. It is completely different to research the topic and experience the consequences first hand. A lot of for them, it was hard to watch someone my age take on such huge responsibilities. Of course I have not been around the see their full development be altered; however, I can already see that the way they look at things are completely different. For example, when looking for Jobs, I am looking for something part time and flexible.

When a person who has to help support a family is looking for a Job, they want something that is concrete and can be considered almost a career. They tend to be more stressed out about things that would not bother me as much, including time or planning changes. They are adults now so their time is valuable and sometimes not very flexible. Works Cited Ainsworth, Salter, Mary D. “The Development of Child-mother Attachment. ” Review of Child Development Research. Ed. Bettye M. Caldwell and Henry N. Ricciuti. Vol. 3. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1973. 1-95. Print.

Amato, P. R. , & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysts. psychological Bulletin, 1 10(1), 26-46. dot:10. 1037/0033-2909. 110. 1. 26. Web. Oswalt, Angela. “Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Wellness, Family & Relationship Issues, Sexual Disorders & ADHD Medications. ” Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Wellness, Family & Relationship Issues, Sexual Disorders & ADHD Medications. Ed. C. E. zupantck. N. p. , 17 NOV. 2010. web. 12 NOV. 2013. Reich, Ashley. “This Map Of U. S. Divorce Rates Shows Where Marriages Go To Die.

The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost. com, 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Roberson, Patricia N. E. , Melissa Sabo, and Katherine Wickel. “Internal Working Models of Attachment and Postdivorce Coparent Relationships. ” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 52. 3 (201 1): 187-201. print. Santrock, John W. Adolescence: John W. Santrock. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print. Stassen Berger, Kathleen. The Developing Person through the Lifespan. 8th ed. New York: Worth, 2011. Print. Shannon Young Professor Hutter Developmental Psychology Term Paper Fall 2013


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