Divorce and Consequences for Child Development

1931 Words8 Pages
The dissolution of a marriage, or ‘divorce’ as it is known, was once an infrequent occurrence and often considered the failure of a wife to maintain a happy marriage (Lewis, 2013). Following a change in legislation in the 1960s that allowed partners to end their marriage without having to provide justification, in conjunction with the sexual liberation movement, the incidence of divorce more than doubled (Wilcox, 2009). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012), the number of marriages ending in divorce has continued to rise, however, despite an increase in social acceptance, the negative impact divorce has on children has remained prevalent (Kelly & Emery, 2004). It is imperative for researchers to assess the repercussions…show more content…
In some cases, the negative interactions before and during the process of divorce cease upon the finalisation of the divorce, allowing the parent to devote their love and attention towards their child unencumbered (Strohschein, 2005). Alternatively, in order to distract themselves from emotional pain not appropriately dealt with during or following the divorce, parents may become either overbearing, or self-absorbed and less attentive towards their children (Brodkin, 2008; Taylor & Andrews, 2009). During early childhood, according to Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development, children must develop a sense of self-control in order to avoid feelings of inadequacy and gain confidence in their own abilities (1977c). Overbearing parents have the potential to prevent their child from achieving autonomy, as they may be unwilling to relinquish control and allow their child to take steps towards independence, whereas inattentive parents may fail to encourage their child in activities that promote developmental growth as they are immersed in their own problems (Bacon & McKenzie, 2004). Divorce can have a profound impact on early childhood, however, whether that impact is positive or negative is dependent on how the parents manage the consistency of their love and care, the quality of the child’s environment pre, during and post divorce, and the parents willingness to foster a healthy degree of self-determination in their child, because
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