Residential mobility accounts for 29 percent of the academic performance gap between children living in stepfamilies and children living with both biological parents. One study found that children whose parents divorced skipped nearly 60 percent more class periods than children from intact families. Girls appeared to be more affected than boys. Children whose parents 38 or grandparents 39 divorce tend to have fewer years of education. Over 57 percent of children who live in intact biological families enter college, compared to Youth living in married stepfamilies and cohabiting stepfamilies i.
According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 91 percent of individuals who grew up with married biological parents received a high school degree. They are followed by those who grew up in a married stepfamily 80 percent , those who grew up with a single, divorced parent 76 percent , those who grew up in a cohabiting stepfamily 68 percent , those who grew up with an always-single parent 63 percent , and those who grew up in an intact cohabiting family 60 percent.
Effects of Divorce on Children's Education. Table of Contents 1. Diminished Learning Capacity 1. Different situations and activities can have different effects on the children of divorce and separation. As adolescents, girls show more hostility and boys are less hostile when they moved as children with the custodial father. Nonresidential fathers believed they were more involved with their children than was perceived by the custodial mother but also felt a more negative change over time in their relationship with the children. However, if the father is the initiator of the divorce, he is likely to feel more fulfilled in his parenting role.
Low-income families are more likely to separate, and if the mother is in a new relationship, there is often a decrease in supportive coparenting. This disparity tends to increase the inequality of money available for children and thus results in a significant increase in child poverty. This situation puts children of divorced parents at a higher risk of a number of adverse outcomes.
Divorce in a family with a history of child abuse is related to a greater incidence of conduct disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide attempts in children than does either divorce or child abuse alone. Legal sources suggest that mandated parenting classes, recommended by divorce courts, could improve outcomes for all members of the family. Ten years after the divorce, daughters of high-conflict families reported more depression. Wariness regarding relationships was higher in children from divorced homes or homes with parental conflict.
The divorce patterns of service members and veterans further highlight the potential positive effects of the support for families that the military provides. While they are in the military, couples are less likely to divorce than their civilian counterparts. Once they leave the military, however, this trend reverses.
Veterans are 3 times as likely to be divorced as those who have never served in the military. The legal profession reports that there is momentum building for more focus on the child in divorce disputes. Although not a common aspect of pediatric practice, pediatricians may be subpoenaed by a court or asked by a parent to provide testimony in a child custody hearing. In such circumstances, pediatricians should be cognizant of the following information. A subpoena might require testimony subpoena ad testificandum , the production of documents subpoena duces tecum , or both.
Because a subpoena suspends typical rules regarding medical confidentiality, it is important for the pediatrician to read carefully what disclosures are commanded and therefore allowed by the subpoena. A provider receiving a subpoena for a medical record that he or she did not create should notify the attorney issuing the subpoena of the appropriate custodian instead of disclosing the record. On receiving any subpoena, the wisest course is to call the attorney who issued the subpoena and discuss with that attorney what testimony or documents are required and what facts or opinions the attorney hopes to elicit.
If a pediatrician is requested by a parent or a particular party to a custody hearing to provide testimony, in furtherance of the best interests of children of divorced families and maintenance of good physician-family relationships it may be prudent for the pediatrician to defer those requests to child-abuse pediatric experts where available or consult with them before providing any testimony.
It is important for the pediatrician to remember that he or she should consider himself or herself an impartial educator of the court about the topic of his or her expertise.
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A physician has an ethical obligation to provide accurate, unbiased testimony based on sound scientific principles. One should seek legal advice from hospital-based forensic teams to explore alternative responses to a subpoena to testify. The best preparation for any kind of court testimony is to be thoroughly familiar with the medical facts of the case. If the pediatrician is asked to opine about a matter with which he or she is uncomfortable ie, rendering an abuse or neglect diagnosis , the pediatrician may either confer with a specialist in that field ie, a child-abuse pediatrician before providing that testimony or inform the court of his or her discomfort in rendering a formal opinion on that subject matter.
It is important that the pediatrician be cognizant of not providing irresponsible testimony. Divorce is a legal term that means the dissolution or legal conclusion of a marriage. For children of married parents, the divorce process includes legal protections for children. This assessment includes the financial and psychosocial needs of the children and typically leads to an agreement or order specifying the amount of time children will spend with each parent and which parent or parents is responsible for decision-making with regard to education, health care, family values, and related matters.
Some states have marital equivalents such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. Children of parents in civil union or domestic partnership relationships ideally should have the same legal protections as children born to married parents. The nonmedical literature has reported on the variability of legal decisions in cases involving same-sex parents and their children. The touchstone for determining whether a person who raises a child has a legal status as parent to that child is biology, marriage, or adoption.
Although parenthood status is usually straightforward, circumstances in which parenthood status and parental rights are unclear may involve complex issues of law. Similarly, a person whose spouse bears a child is presumed to be a parent of that child. In any case involving a relationship dissolution involving a biological, marital, or adoptive parent, a court is expected to assess the best interests of the child. A person who raises a child but who does not have a legal relationship to that child through biology, marriage, or adoption may not have the same protections for a continued relationship with the child despite the fact that the effect on the child can be as significant.
These developments vary state by state. As families that formed through the expanding capacity of human reproductive technology separate and divorce, there will continue to be legal challenges and areas without legal precedent regarding custody determinations of the child.
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Another area that is important to consider that is far more common than divorce is the issue of the separation of nonmarried heterosexual partners. Less attention is often given to these separations as when there is a legal divorce, but the psychological effect on children is likely as significant. Inquiring about family stressors, including parental difficulties, can be a routine part of the pediatric health supervision visit, as noted in the third edition of Bright Futures.
Being aware of these stressors and referring for marital counseling are appropriate and may preserve the marital relationship. Pediatricians are encouraged to consider their own attitudes, religious beliefs, and ethical positions concerning divorce, especially if they have experienced divorce in their own families. Being as objective as possible in counseling children and parents is important. If the separation appears to be definite, early interventions, such as referral to a family counselor, may decrease parental hostility and assist the child and parents in coping with family disruptions to come.
The works of several authors can be particularly helpful.
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Acute parental separation, which may precede the legal divorce by months or years, is typically the time of highest vulnerability for the child. Parental distress is high. One parent may be physically absent and often temporarily lost to the child. The custodial parent may find parenting responsibilities more difficult because of his or her own distress. Decreasing school performance, behavioral difficulties, social withdrawal, and somatic complaints are common reactions of children and accompaniments of divorce that require intervention. A heightened level of sadness is typical, and depression is not uncommon in both children and parents.
A parent conference at this stage might be scheduled. However, if a pediatrician becomes concerned that living with a particular parent presents a significant risk of current or future abuse or neglect for the child, the pediatrician should make a report to child protective services. If a pediatrician is uncertain whether the family psychosocial dynamics pose sufficient risk to warrant a report to child protective services, it may be prudent to consult a local child-abuse pediatrician.
The pediatrician can offer each parent an opportunity to discuss the separation as it affects the child. The discussion can begin by inquiring how each member of the family is doing at this time of family stress and transition. Do both parents have adequate support systems, such as extended family, clergy, or a personal physician to help meet their own physical and emotional needs?
Are there supports that can help parents in their parenting roles? What is the apparent emotional reaction of the children? Children can be given permission for their feelings and opportunities to express them. Children must understand that they did not cause the divorce and cannot bring the parents back together. It is hoped that they can be told that each parent will continue to love and care for them, but if they cannot be provided with this reassurance, pediatricians can help the involved parent develop strategies to help the child articulate feelings of loss and identify resources to assist the child.
The pediatrician can offer families pertinent written material on divorce directed at parents and children see the reading lists at the end of this report. These resources can be informative for the pediatrician as well. These situations can result in children feeling disloyal to a parent and feeling that they need to choose 1 parent over the other and can result in feelings of guilt, sorrow, and anger. If this is happening, pediatricians need to be comfortable having frank, nonjudgmental, and open discussions with parents and exploring ways to help the family manage these challenges.
It may be helpful to remind parents that professional help can aid them in a nonbiased evaluation of the situation and approaches to resolution. Legal custody and parental rights and responsibilities can vary in their physical and legal arrangements, from sole 1-parent custody, to various forms of shared arrangements, to equal or joint custody. If the noncustodial parent has legal visiting rights and access to health information, it is important that immunization and other pertinent health records be given to both parents in case of an emergency or urgent situation.
Any conflict between parents about these issues should be resolved in accordance with legal custody agreements and may require written authorization by both parents. In an emergency situation, the pediatrician can always act to protect the child. Professional counseling may be necessary and has shown to be effective in helping children adjust to divorce and separation. Although the legal divorce is an important issue for parents, it may be insignificant to a younger child who knows little of the legal process or very significant for the older child who experiences further proof that his parents will not reconcile.
Parental discretion and truthfulness are important for the maintenance of respect for the parents. Stepfamilies introduce another adjustment challenge for children and their parents.
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As children develop and mature, their emotions, behaviors, and needs with regard to the divorce are likely to change. Expert Advice for Kids' Emotional Recovery. Effects Of Divorce On Children. Sponsored products related to this item What's this?
Effects of Divorce on Children's Education
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