Divorce’s impact on Children

Divorce in the US is very prevalent currently with the rates at 46.37% (National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends) with data gathered by census. With this high of divorce rates  in America there have been rumors of wrecked children but what actually is the long-term effect of Divorce. One of the major factors during a divorce is the impact on the children. Parents fret over long term damage to their children such as fearing long term relationships and marriage.

In the first argument stating divorce is not harmful for children was found in an article titled “Is Divorce Bad for Children the Scientific American.” This article argued that divorce is not negative for children long term (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz).   In 2002 psychologist Hetherington at the University of Virginia concluded that most children experience temporarily negative effects from divorce (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). These feelings usually stop after a year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer. Overall most children are not affected in the long term and thrive (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). In 2001 Amato from Pennsylvania State University, studied the possible effects on children several years after a divorce (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). He studied this by comparing a control of children with married parents and children from divorced parents (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). This study compared their academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, and relationships (Lilienfeld, Arkowitz). There was little to no significant difference in results supporting the claim Divorce does not negatively impact children in the long term.

In Berlins’s Article supporting divorce doesn’t negatively impact children. The study found that there were many different factors such as impact, violence, employment and support (Berlin). The Study suggested that in average middle class white family divorce doesn’t impact the children negatively in the long term. This is because they have enough support and economic wellbeing.

The argument that divorce negatively impacts children focuses on the short-term effect mainly (Gross). This article specifically was published by the Huffington post focuses on the impacts by age. Younger children are confused and older children are still egocentric and cannot imagine the idea of their parents living apart (Gross).  The article doesn’t focus on after the separation. Anyone no matter the age feels uprooted moving. The change in routine is difficult for children.

The next article is about the impact of family structure on health of children by the National Center of Biotechnology. This article argues by three decades of research that children “married, biological parents consistently have better physical, emotional, and academic well-being” (Anderson).   The only exception to this rule was when violence was involved. The study showed that the average age of women getting married increased and the rate of marriages decreased (Anderson). The implications of the study suggest that the emotional instability.  The long-term argument argued that the emotional implications are worse because of relationship with parents (Anderson).

In my experience, I believe divorce is in the long term is not negative. In the short term I do believe it is very stressful even as an adult.  Currently my family is moving and my fifteen-year-old sister is moving schools. I agree with Berlins perspective that each family is different and has different factors such as economics and emotional support. I also agree with Gross’s stance that the age of children changes their interpretation. In conclusion there are many factors and in short term it is negative because of change of routine. In the long term the majority of children adjust.


Anderson, Jane. “The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce.” The Linacre Quarterly, Maney Publishing, Nov. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240051/.

Berlin, Gordon Anonymous. “The Effects of Marriage and Divorce on Families and Children.” Mdrc, 24 Apr. 2017, http://www.mdrc.org/publication/effects-marriage-and-divorce-families-and-children.

Gross, Dr. Gail. “The Impact of Divorce on Children of Different Ages.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Mar. 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-impact-of-divorce-on-children-of-different-ages_b_6820636.html.

Lilienfeld, Hal Arkowitz Scott O. “Is Divorce Bad for Children?” Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/.

“National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Nov. 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm.



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