Effects of Divorce on Early Childhood: A Critical Discussion

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In the United States between 1970 and 1977, divorce rates rose a dramatic 79 percent. Although these rates have remained steady over the past few decades, an alarmingly high proportion of marriages still end in divorce. Divorce has been considered by some to be the 'best course of action', such as when a child is living with both parents amidst conflict, abuse, or both.


A child's perception of divorce will largely be determined by their age and gender, and when stressful events outweigh the available protective factors in a child's life, even the most resilient child can develop problems. Younger children, for instance, are at risk short-term due to the confusion surrounding the divorce and the loss of the parents no longer living together in the home. Younger children are also less likely to understand and make sense of all the changes which are occurring around them.
Divorce is in fact much more complex than it appears to be on the surface. Rather obviously, ending a marriage is not a one-time event that occurs in a courthouse; it is a process. Divorce in itself is a multi-level, series of events and behaviors, which has significant life-long effects on not only those who are primarily involved, but also those around them. The divorcing couple, as well as the entire family, experiences a variety of abrupt changes which impact nearly every aspect of their lives.
The emotional divorce is one which centers around the problem of the actual deteriorating marriage. ...
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