Relationships and Attachment Issues Due to Divorce
This paper critically examines the issue of divorce. It analyses how people adapt and respond to divorce. It has been argued that divorced couples normally report lower levels of satisfaction in life than the old married counterparts do. Some studies have however shown that the levels of satisfaction go down as the couple approaches to divorce. However, later on, as time moves by, things get back to normal. Their argument is that time is a master healer of all wounds, all traumas and every possible pain that the couple might have gone through. The contemporary society is witnessing cases of divorce more than ever witnessed before. Families are crumbling and disintegrating due to this social problem that is likely to inflict a lot of psychological problems to the victims. Children even suffer more when the parents get divorced.
The effects of parental divorce can significantly affect the parents and the children, young ones and young adults. Dissolution of the marriage results into the termination of the peaceful existence and perhaps the comfort that the child used to obtain from the first people in his life. The child grows up very insecure, unprotected and uncared for. As a result, his developmental process is greatly compromised. Moreover, the academic ability of such a child is impaired significantly because he could ultimately lack the necessary financial and moral academic support and an ideal environment that supports the peace of mind associated with academic excellence. The child’s cognitive skills are also fundamentally compromised.
The parents are also adversely affected by divorce. They become traumatized and stressed a great deal. Adapting to the previous life after divorce and probably remarriage is possible but that may happen after a considerable period of time. The relational and romantic relationships of young adults who are victims of parental divorce are also affected. Most of them imitate their parent’s attributes. The parent is the first role model in a child’s life so the divorce may bear certain ill traits in the young adult.
Causes of Divorce
The dissolution of marriages can be attributed to a number of causes. These causes are a variety of marital problems that may see couples deciding to terminate what could have been a previously happy and successful marriage. Issues such as infidelity have been reported to be major causes of divorce. Infidelity often results from inadequate sexual satisfaction of the partners or greed for sex. Other causes can be inadequate financial stability especially on part of men, family related issues like the in-laws opposing the marriage, lack of commitment to the marriage. Others fade due to the decreasing amount of love and attention the couples obtain. Divorce can also result from undesirable traits on one of the partners that were not apparent before. The causes are numerous and can be categorized as psychological, financial and sometimes even spiritual.
The beginning of Divorce
It is not very clear exactly when the practice of divorce actually began. This is because there were couples that were not satisfied in marriages from a very long time ago. They would later on permanently separate but not in an official way. This permanent separation is what divorce entails. However, it ought to be made official. However, contemporary society is witnessing cases of divorce at an unprecedented rate. Many marriages are not working out. The couple almost always opts to walk out of the marriages.
By 1070, a study about divorce and remarriage was carried out in Virginia. This was when the issue of divorce and subsequent remarriage began officially. The absence of the father was a very fundamental issue driving this study. The focus was so vehement on the father absence so much that even the changing life experiences of mothers and children proceeding the divorce were not given much consideration.
Effects of the Male Parent’s Absence in the Family
The absence of the father figure in a family has a tremendous effect on that family. First and foremost, fathers are known to be the breadwinners in most families. Their eminent absence means doom to some families. Children remain even more adversely affected. It is true that children need the attention of both parents to develop well and later transform to useful members of society. The boy child is thought to be particularly vulnerable due to lack of the father figure in the family.
A family where children are brought up solely by the mother owing to divorce is not as different from one where the father died due to war, tragic disease or an accident. The single parenthood makes the children appear as though they are orphans. They grow up lacking certain basic requirements that the presence of the male figure in the family is supposed to provide. As for the girls, the impact may not be very great as they remain emotionally attached to their mothers so much that some may not feel the pinch of the lacking father figure in the family.
Fathers are known to enforce discipline in the family. This should not underestimate the mothers’ role in doing the same. But obviously, the male parent is better equipped to do this more than the mother can be capable of doing. Their absence may as well imply that the children may grow up as people who are not very disciplined and with vices that further crumble the societal norms and values. But this is not always the case as there are mothers who are also able to bring up children who are very respectful and with charitable attributes towards adolescents and even right to adulthood.
The social and cognitive development of the children is also adversely affected by the lack of the father figure in the family. Often times a child that does not get the father’s attention may grow up having a certain psychosocial problem that would have otherwise been eliminated had the father been around. In many other societies across the globe, it is the father’s duty to ensure that the children eat well and get a good education. When this figure is conspicuously lacking the child’s education and social well being is therefore dealt a major blow. As a result, both the physical and cognitive development of the child is greatly compromised.
Adjusting to the new life situation for the children may also become difficult indeed. They go through a lot of stress and life-changing family processes even to get to the new single parent situation. The responses and adjustments preceding the divorce may not greatly be influenced by the current circumstances but mainly by the events that preceded the divorce. Mothers are particularly traumatized especially after cruel and saddening events that could have occurred prior to the divorce. Even though time is argued to heal, it may not permanently heal the wounds associated with divorce particularly following cruel emotive experiences.
It is also a fact to note that children may not have been part of what caused the divorce. In fact, in most cases, they are very innocent, but in the long run, they become the most adversely affected people by divorce. They grow up to be lonely and at times very miserable, missing the attention they need most: that of both parents.
Divorce can, however, mean good to the children especially when the marriage life was initially cruel to them. Some parents turn against their children in a bid to revenge against their spouses. If this is the case then the child becomes free and secure with a single and supportive mother following the divorce. As such, the circumstances surrounding the divorce are what determine the type of life the mother and children live after the divorce.
Adapting after Divorce
Adaptation and adjustments to normal life after the divorce is not a very easy thing for the involved parties. Mothers, fathers, and children may find it difficult to get back to their previously organized lives if it was before. Divorced families are generally not as happy as those that stay in marriages. It is argued that the happiness and satisfaction that couples find in marriage significantly drops towards the divorce. Later on, it rebounds. But this will take a lot of time, and in most cases, it may not completely realize the same happiness that the couple used to experience before.
Adjustments to the new life may be difficult especially to the children who may not even be aware of what is going on in the family. They would keep on asking where their other parents went to. They need the attention of both so that they can grow up and develop to become successful and happy members of society. As much as the parents will try to adjust to the new situations, there are lasting changes that will never be wiped out by time no matter how long it takes. This is especially when the events that led to them divorcing were cruel and very emotive.
At some point, however, the couple gets to adapt to the new situation. They get to understand, comprehend the situation and appreciate the new situation. Contrary to the argument that divorce may mean permanent happiness, some scholars argue that life events may not mean the permanent loss of happiness and social well being. They argue that people have been disabled at some point following road accidents, people have lost their loved ones, lost their jobs and even very exciting romantic relationships, but they do not suffer long term emotional consequences following these life events. Adjustment becomes difficult only during the initial periods when the events are still fresh in the hearts and minds of the victims. However, as time goes by, they adjust and life changes for the better once again.
People are argued to possess an amazing ability to adapt to almost any life situation. Consequently, the victims of divorce, though it may be hard, soon get to find their former lives though not with their partners. Some scholars have argued that adaptation is very strong since emotions are regulated by homeostatic processes which are designed to maintain individual happiness. They suggest that people may move from their average levels but with time hedonic adaptation returns them to the baseline.
Effects of Divorce on the Personal Relationship of Young Adults
The impacts that the parent’s divorce have on the young children’s relationships may not be uniform. The effects cannot be consistent on their romantic relationships. The differential outcomes are mainly dependent on the young adult’s perceptions of their parent’s divorce. Compared to those whose parents are in stable marriages, children whose parents divorced generally hold favorable views to divorce. This implies that there is a likelihood of such people divorcing their couples in future following a slight disagreement.
Though there is no consistency or uniformity in the way such young adults perceive their relationship, the fact is that they generally have a very positive attitude towards divorce. This is very evident from their general lack of commitment to romantic relationships. Majority of such young adults take their partners for granted. Many times the partners complain that they do not care about most of the needs. This might be lending credence to the fact that divorce may have very long term effects on the children.
Parents are usually the first teachers. When they impart on to the young ones the fact that there is nothing wrong with divorce by taking the bold step to actually carry it out themselves, the children grow up knowing that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the practice. They see it as a normal occurrence and they may later on in life not hesitate to do it themselves.
What causes the differences in such relationships could be the conflicts that occurred between the children’s’ parents and the quality of the parental life that they had before. As a result, some children, though few, as they grow up, they may not want to be exposed to what their parents went through during their marriage. They, therefore, try as much as they can to avoid the traumas that the parents must have gone through and perfect their own romantic relationships and subsequent marriages.
For a long time, it was argued that romantic relationships among the youths were not important, however with the current situations such argument may no longer be tenable. The reality is, the young adults are active and they engage in romantic affairs every other day. The youths who saw their parents careless with each other tend to be careless with their partners. Divorce is, therefore, able to affect the marital quality of these young adults. But the results are not always negative. There are some that try as much as possible not to be victims to the vices that the parents could have been.
The role of Attachment in Children’s Adjustment to Divorce and Remarriage
It is not very unusual for children to exhibit substantial adjustment challenges following the divorce of their parents and subsequent remarriages. Many of the children also tend to develop a sense of resilience throughout the process of adjustment
One thing that remains overlooked when the parent’s divorce or even in discussing the issue of divorce is the attachment bond that children have with their parents. Secure parents will always encourage an effective affect regulation. They are usually emotionally available to the young ones and responsive to their demands. Such parents also enforce substantial amounts of discipline to their children.
Attachment security is capable of providing a buffer and encourages resiliency to children who experience divorce. Children who are victims of divorce are associated with clinical problems when not taken care of, eating disorders, trauma, chronic illnesses, and depression. For the children, the transition of the parents’ marital situations can be stressful and traumatic. This could place them at the serious risks of developing social, academic, cognitive, behavioral and relational problems over time. It is estimated that such children are more likely to exhibit poor academic standards, emotional problems, and lower social competence and self-esteem.
The attachment problem should take a center stage in discussions relating to divorce. During an infant’s first year in life, he repeatedly interacts with his caregiver. These interactions are internalized as the infant’s internal working models. The child feels loved, trusted and cared for. As a result, he loves the environment and trusts it. These working models remain stable throughout an individual’s entire life. As such, even after the divorce, the children remain vehemently attached to their parents who were once very effective caregivers.
Even after the remarriages, children will always crave the attention of their blood parents. They always remain void of something critical; they desire to be close to the person they knew first, the same person that provided the initial care. The attachment remains great throughout the child’s life. It should be noted that these are the first people that the young ones encounter in their lives. It cannot be business as usual when one of these people becomes conspicuously absent due to divorce. Whatever the case, the child’s attachment to the parents remain a fundamental factor that should almost always be considered when discussing the issue of divorce in society.
Other scholars have however argued that as much as the attachment develops within the first year of the infant’s life, it is not a trait-like characteristic that is incapable of change. The argument is that the attachment system is likely to display significant stability over time but is also open to modification as a result of certain environmental inputs. For instance, if an initially very supportive parent experiences certain negative life events such as divorce, the parent may not remain as responsive, protective and responsible as he previously was. As a result, the attachment between such a parent and the children will considerably change.
To be precise, the security of attachment will take a negative turn. Consequently, this will have adverse implications on the child’s attachment with the parent. The parent suddenly becomes unresponsive, unsupportive and irresponsible. Such changes affect the way the child perceives the parent. With time the attachment significantly goes down. It even gets worse following the divorce. Later on in life, the child can live free of the attachment bond. However, when the parent remains responsible and protective of the young ones regardless of the situation, the attachment bond continues to thrive and can critically harm the life of the young one after the divorce.
The well being and Relationship between Divorce and Children’s Academic Achievements
Marital dissolutions have adverse effects on the ability of children to exhibit high standards of academic achievements. With the attention of both the parents, the child is encouraged and given the moral and financial support to excel to greater heights of economic standards. However, when the marriage is in tatters, even the academic potential of the child is compromised. The consequences are greater who the parents agree to end the marriage living the child with a single parent who may not sufficiently provide for all his academic requirements.
Academic excellence can only thrive where the student has a peace of mind and is calm enough to concentrate on what he is being taught in class. But when the student is constantly thinking about the state of the parents’ marriage, lack of the parental attention, he significantly gets stressed and is not able to give his full focus and attention to the teachers. The mid of such a child is disturbed. The thought of the absence of love from both parents looms large. Thinking about the attention given to other children, being visited by parents in school, a child of the divorced family becomes lonely and prey to poor academic performance compared to those who are constantly visited by both parents and encouraged to work even harder.
Divorce impacts negatively on the child’s psychological well being. With the marriage of the parents deteriorated, the child is not likely to psychologically have the preparedness to tackle the academic issues as he would have done if he had both the parents close to him. The parents could still provide the financial support to facilitate the child’s education, but then their closeness and attention may be absent. This may not be good for the young one.
Effects of Parental Divorce on the Child’s Cognitive Skills
There are several negative factors associated with the parental divorce that are likely to undermine the child’s cognitive development consequently impairing his cognitive skills. These factors begin prior to the divorce and more so after the dissolution of the marriage. It should be noted that the events that happen in the marriage prior to the marriage may have long term effects that will see children with impaired cognitive skills. When the parents were almost always on the verge of disagreements, battles, and fights as children helplessly watch before finally resolving to terminate their marriage, the events remain imprinted in the minds of the young ones thereby exposing them to serious cognitive problems following the divorce.
Divorce is currently rocking marriages at a rate never known before. The victims of the divorce particularly the children are the major sufferers. They remain very vulnerable to pathetic conditions leading to impaired levels of well being and happiness. It is possible to adapt to changes after divorce but this is likely to take a lot of time. It is even worse for children because of the emotional attachment that they develop with their parents from a very tender age. This is the more reason young adults whose parents divorce cannot see anything wrong with divorce. They hold favorable views to divorce. Couples should try as much to distance themselves from what may crumble their previously organized marriages.
They should particularly be tolerant and responsive to both partners and children. Love should be the driving factor in any marriage. Otherwise, divorce cases will always continue to occur and children’s academic, behavioral and cognitive skills will always get significantly thwarted. There are however certain cases when divorce would be justifiable. These are times when one of the parents becomes very irresponsible and is becoming a threat to the life of the partner or the wife. At such times and circumstances, it is better the marriage is terminated than lives put on the line.
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