One explanation is that latency-aged children may be more involved in parental disputes and thus more confused about the issues than are children of other ages (Aro pp). Moreover, compared with boys whose parents divorced in early childhood, the latency-aged boys may have had a "longer exposure to family discord and less cognitive and coping abilities than older children" (Aro pp). Aro claims that if this is true, then it might help to explain the sex differences, since boys have been shown to be more vulnerable than girls to family discord (Aro pp). Aro concludes that the differences in well-being of young people of divorced and non-divorced families must be explained by factors other than the timing of divorce (Aro pp).
Kevin Heubusch reports in the January 01, 1998 issue of American Demographics that although divorce can be a painful event and fill parents with guilt, new research by University of Michigan psychologist, Abigail Stewart, suggests that some of the commonly held beliefs about the effects of divorce on children may not be true (Heubusch pp).
According to Stewart, when divorce results in an end to conflict, a more stable home, and healthier parents, the risk for children may be greatly lessened (Heubusch pp). Conflict between parents can harm both children and parents, however it is especially damaging for children under the age of nine, and for children who are drawn directly into the hostility (Heubusch pp). There is a direct relationship between children's psychological well-being and that of their parents, and when separation and divorce "enhance parents' well-being in very straightforward and direct ways, it's reasonable to expect that children will benefit from the improvement," says Stewart (Heubusch pp).
The December 01, 2004 issue of Youth Studies Australia reported the research Sheila Allison presented to the annual conference of Family Services Australia, which revealed that while divorce is difficult and painful for children, the effects are not necessarily damaging in the long-term (Allison pp). Joan Kelly, head of the California Dispute Resolution clinic, states that one should not confuse lingering sadness and painful memories with lasting damage, and that while children from happily married families fare the best, about 80% of children from divorce families emerge relatively unscathed (Allison pp). Dr. Bryan Rogers revealed from his research that divorce can cause distress and mental illness if those involved do not have enough legal, financial and social support during the traumatic time, and advocates giving children more direct involvement in divorce proceedings (Allison pp).
While divorce is certainly not the best of worlds, it is not necessarily the worst either. Statistically, children of parental divorce do live below the financial status that they lived in during the marriage, and most likely will experience depression and possibly suffer academically. However, these are not necessarily long-term effects. Moreover, a divorce may actually improve the general lifestyle of the children, especially if they had been subjected to severe parental conflict, particularly in cases of alcoholism and/or physical abuse. Therefore, divorce may be an escape from a potentially damaging environment.
Allison, Sheila. "Effects of divorce not insurmountable." Youth Studies Australia.
December 01, 2004. Retrieved October 30, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
Aro, Hillevi. "Effect of timing of parental divorce on the vulnerability of children to depression in young adulthood." Adolescence. September 22, 1994. Retrieved October 30, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
DeCuzzi, Angela. "The effect of parental divorce on relationships with parents and romantic partners of college students." College Student Journal. December 01, 2004. Retrieved October 30, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
Heubusch, Kevin. "Divorced from reality: divorce and its effects on children are
better when conflict ends and a healthier home is established, University of Michigan research. American…