Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences in the overall life of a child. As a matter of fact, most children are never adequately prepared for the impending divorce of their parents. A strong sense of vulnerability painfully affects children even as the family disintegrates (Wayne et al, 2009).This is coupled with the fact that there is the fear of loss of the intact family and the custody of the parents. The child also has to battle the strong feelings of powerlessness. In most cases, the child has to go through some consequences especially on their development. Many think so as a result of the previous observations made on similar cases (Wayne et al, 2009).
Specific Consequences of Divorce on Child Development
Every member of the family suffers from the act of divorce, with children being the most hit. Children between the ages of 3 to 5 mostly show evidences of regression of the most recently achieved developmental milestones (Wayne, Lloyd & Dunn, Hammer, 2009). They also go through sleep disturbances and an intensified fear of separation from the custodian parent. At early latency, between the ages of 6 and 8, children will often grieve for the departed parent.
At this age, they usually become prone to accidents and may hold anger inside, especially towards the parent they live with. Children at the late latency ages between the age of 8 and 11 suffer from the feelings of powerlessness and grief towards the loss of the previously intact family. As for adolescents, they are likely to go through depression (Wayne et al, 2009).
The kinds of correlational studies conducted by developmental psychologists include cross sectional designs, longitudinal designs and cross sequential designs (Parke & Stewart, 2011). In the cross-sectional design, researchers study a number of different age individuals with similar traits at a single time. As for the longitudinal design, the same people are studied continually over a particular period of time (Parke & Stewart, 2011). The cross sequential design involves studying a cross sectional sample who are tested more than once over a specified period of time. In this type of research, the possible confounding variables include the marital status of the parents when the child was born, the socio-economic status of the parents, gender, number of siblings, and the family background (Parke & Stewart, 2011).
Issues Concerning Age Differences
In as much as there has been belief that a large difference in ages between spouses may pose as a risk factor for divorce, this has been significantly challenged (Wayne et al, 2009). Many argue that the divorce rate may be higher among couples in which the wife is older than the husband. However, studies indicate that on marriage, a difference of age between spouses does not generate a basis for apprehension. The negative consequence in many cases may arise especially in cases where the wife is too young to handle the consequences like single parenthood. This can be examined by using the different kinds of correlational studies used by marriage psychologists (Parke & Stewart, 2011).
Evidence that Divorce causes Negative Consequences
Studies indicate that over a million children suffer as a result of the divorce of their parents. Social science journals across America indicate that there mounting evidence attesting to this. This is as a result of the overwhelming emotional, physical, and financial effects that divorce has on these children (Wayne et al, 2009). These children perform poorly in academics and are usually victims of abuse. These children are also likely to move to poverty.
When determining the cause and the effects of divorce, demographic and developmental research needs to be conducted (Parke & Stewart, 2011). In these studies, the dependent and independent variables include aspects like the duration of the marriage, the educational attainment of both the wife and the husband, the husband’s and the wife’s ages at marriage, their respective incomes, the number and age of children, and premarital childbearing (Parke & Stewart, 2011). With regard to ethical concerns, such research is not questionable at all. Any concerns that may arise may be on its authenticity which can be dealt with by using credible methods (Parke & Stewart, 2011).