It took 17 years for my parents to finally separate from each other which is something I’ve been waiting for since I can remember, however I can confidently say that I would not ask for a different past solely because it has shaped me into a person that I can say I am happy with and not everyone can say that. I have been able to take my past and learn from it by analyzing the situation and taking notes from what could have been done differently, instead of being angry about it. My parents, sister and I have all become statistics because of this awful situation, but the sad reality is that millions of children are being affected by this too.
Over the past few decades the number of couples alone getting divorced/separated has grown at a large rate as well as the number of mothers having children before/without marriage. The effects of divorce do not only affect the child and parents, but also society as a whole because the possible effects could potentially harm others due to certain tendencies or actions that may be unknown consequences. Due to the emotional, physical, and mental damage from the divorce families should consider family/marriage therapy in order to attempt to find the solution. Not everyone believes in therapy, however, it does have the potential to have a number of benefits to those who chose to go or who can afford it. In most situations the cost of a therapist would be less than the cost of a divorce which varies depending on the state, as well as potentially helping a failing marriage and stop the damage that could be inflicted on to the child unknowingly by the parents. Though the cause and effect examples are common they are not going to happen in every situation which is what makes each individual child unique.
No two situations will be exactly the same which plays a large roll in the research and development of this topic due to the fact that every person will have a different perspectives to their own situation. Some of these situations may include, single parent household, married parents, separated parents, divorced parents, wedlock, with relatives, or as a part of the government system in foster care. All of said examples could all have potential outcomes whether they will be good or bad will only be told by time. These are only basic situations of the problem without any further analysis into the any personal aspects of anyone’s stories such as social status, economic status, prior emotional well-being, and educational situations for some children. The number of different situations and outcomes is endless however the negative effects speak for themselves when those involved suffer from the inflicted damage.
Divorce or parental separation can have many short term and long term effects that can follow said child into adulthood, affecting his/her mental, physical and emotional well-being (Anderson 2014). A few of the short-term effects can develop into long-term effects depending on the severity of the situations. The child could potentially lose quality bonding time with the child which could lead to the child resenting the parent for what they feel is neglect, especially during a difficult time of distress i.e. divorce(Anderson 2014). This is the best time for a child in distress to have his/her parents to console and comfort in order to ensure the child is aware of the parents emotional and physical presence. The transition from a stable household to an unstable household, to multiple different homes, to different schools and loss of friends can be stressful for everyone involved and is where the most time will be spent adjusting to the new normal and is the most crucial time where both parents must be present in the child’s life in order to keep a strong relationship to attempt to prevent future trauma and damage. Some children may see his/her parents divorce as a sign that the parents religion is not what they want to put their faith into and that marriage is not as sacred as its claimed to be in some religious practices.
Both parents are maybe subject to loss of quality time with his/her child, from the father usually having only a limited time to see said child and from the mother potentially having to make up for the financial loss from the divorce. Usually the mother can lose up to 25-50 percent of their annual household income and only about 50 percent of custodial mother’s(Anderson) reach child support agreements with the fathers of the child, however, not all mothers will receive the child support. Also the parents can also be subject to negative effects from the divorce which can ultimately come back around to the child. One major example includes falling back into addiction which can negatively influence the child and potentially cause said child to fall into the same hole (Anderson 2014).
The side effects of this situations has the potential to damage a child to the point of no return due to all the stress that is set upon them. The damage that could harm the child would include mental, emotional, and physical abuse which could be done by either a parent or by themselves. It could also affect the child’s educational future, economic stability, social abilities, trust issues, and relationship issues to name a few. These examples could not only harm the child and the parents but also society when that child becomes a part of it because of all the issues they have experienced and how they react to them.
The term that most organizations refer to these type of situations is instability(Huerta 2013). Instability is when a stable environment has become unstable or was never stable to begin with voluntary or involuntary. This definition is an appropriate because it can represent many types of situations, ones mental, physical and emotional state, and the overall description. This generalizes the situations and bunches the data into a broader spectrum in order to fully see all the effects and not just for particular situations. The term will be used for later relations between situations in order to specify why the situation is deemed unstable. Though it was previously stated that there is no definite number of scenarios some websites have categorized different types of instabilities. The article The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development.,by Sandra Huerta, has 5 categories for the different aspects of instability, which include; economic, employment, family, residential, and out-of home settings(Huerta,2013). All 5 of these categories can all be affected by the separation/divorce of parents and have significant impacts on everyone involved in said situation.
Many of the children who are involved in an unstable household and do not get proper care can develop various issues that could affect their future. Some of the medical issues that could eventually develop would include, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self images disorders, self esteem issues, just to name a few. All of these issue, if left untreated or unattended to could have potentially life changing implications or even life ending situations. Worst case scenario is depression or anxiety that leads to suicide, however the parental instability is most likely not 100% the reason for one to commit this act, but it may play a large part. One solution that parents or families as a whole could try is therapy.
Therapy has a number of benefits that could potentially save a marriage/relationship, help the parents or the family heal, help build communication skills between the family, solve longer running problems that could not be accessed before. With therapy, there is an outside party that is qualified and educated that has the ability to take the information that is given and access the problems and attempt to create a solution or create multiple different tasks that can lead to an ultimate solution. Therapy is a safe space for a family to talk and discuss what problems need to be acknowledged, and for some situations that space could be their only safe space in their life such as domestic abuse victims. Even though a therapist is not allowed to discuss patient informations they can suggest different scenarios for the patient to take certain precautions or go to certain people if the situation calls for it.
There are a number of arguments that could be made against going to therapy. Many of the arguments include reasonings that describe therapy as useless, a waste of time, and pointless. Some would also say that therapy would not be the answer to solve their problems and that their relationship is too far gone to save. Other parents may believe that therapist are there to change their children’s minds and turn the kids against them. Some would also say that their children are fine and do not need therapy without even talking to them due to the fact that they don’t believe in it so they will not allow their children to seek potentially life changing help. It does not help a child to deprive them of professional help and the potential benefits that come with it, but only hurts them because any problems they could have will now have no opportunity to be acknowledged and accessed.
However, these arguments lack any true basis or facts and rely solely on personal preference and opinion on therapy. There are many benefits that therapy can have on a relationship with one’s significant other or with their children. Therapy allows everyone involved to be allowed to speak and express any problems or concerns they have which gives them a voice and helps everyone understand that person’s feelings. This also allows for a neutral outside party to gain insight into the situation and assess what should be done next.
I am not claiming that therapy is the answer, however, I am claiming that it would be ignorant to rule out therapy based solely because they do not believe in it. Therapy is a much better alternative than resulting to a divorce. In some states it can be cheaper to see a therapist than to pay divorce fees. There are just too many potential benefits for both a relationship and for a family, to therapy for it to be ruled out without a second thought. I believe there is more damage done in not going to therapy than going to therapy because all the potential benefits will be wasted. Usually the people who do not believe in therapy have not went out of their way to learn about the subject and what therapy has to offer them and their family. Many children who have been through a divorce or separation will tell you that their parents did not ask them on their opinion or what they were going through which can cause many problems in the future. This can cause potential mental problems to a child if they have to go through a divorce alone without any emotional support or any support at all. Some of the potential problems would include anxiety, trust issues, relationship issues, anger-management issues, resentment towards parents, and many more.
The potential effects on society may seem miniscule, but could have a larger impact to the world with the rise in this type of scenario. Though many of the issues that could a effect a child will largely impact them, it will also affect anyone who will come in contact with that person. This is because other people will encounter the issues when they arise during a normal interaction with said person. A couple of examples may include: anxiety attacks, anger-management issues, trust issues, relationship commitment issues, Etc. These effects could potentially harm millions of people mentally, physically, and emotionally because of the tendencies and issues that may plague a person’s life all spanning from a parental divorce and at-home instability. Some of those who have experienced divorce/separation fear they may end up like their parents or that they will develop similar tendencies their parents had such as unfaithfulness, temperment issues, abusive tendencies (emotion, physical, and mental), and financial instability to name a few. This is not an uncommon occurrence for those due to the fact that they have been exposed to this type of behavior at a young age and will influence their future personality. Some may become anxious to the idea of a relationship due to his/her parents setting an example that not all relationships are forever which could lead to them having multiple partners without commitment, which is not an uncommon practice already, however, it has the potential to be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken into account like protection and other contraceptives.
In conclusion, divorce/separation on children creates a large possibility to cause negative effects on them in the future, however, therapy could be a solution to attempt to prevent these problems by accessing the problem before it worsens. By going to therapy, parents and their families can attempt to solve their problems that could not be solved at home which is a responsible approach to solving household problems instead of living with and continuing to inflict more damage. The benefits of therapy will have a more positive effect on the child than the effects of his/her life without it due to only the potentiality alone. Therapy has the potential to prevent future problems for future generations to come, by acknowledging problems early and before they have a chance to negatively affect the life of the child, his/her future, and those who will come in contact with them.
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