Divorce rates in the United States have been on the rise since World War II. There is no simple answer to why divorce is so widespread or what is in store for the family.
In the mid 1970’s, there were 16 million divorced persons in the United States. The United States has a higher divorce rate than any other country in the world.
Many children are involved in these divorces. In 1978 approximately 18.9 percent of children lived in single parent homes. (Rofes 1981: pg.117) Although this cannot all he attributed to divorce, it does indicate that more children than ever will live in single parent homes for at least part of their childhood.
The divorce rate is not too surprising if you consider all the external and internal pressures put on the adults of today’s society.
A common question asked by kids is, “Is it my fault that my parents fight?” or “Is it my fault my parents are getting a divorce?”. The answer is no!
Both adults and their children find divorce a traumatic experience. Adults have to worry about legal fees, a settlement, child custody, child support, and many other related matters.
Children should try not to be angry at their parents. Try to remember that they are upset also. They’ll need and appreciate your support. Don’t be afraid to cry. Crying is the best way to release anger and frustration.
There are also bad ways of dealing with your feelings. Don’t take out your anger and hurt on other people. It may help to find some type of hobby or sports program to take your mind off the divorce. The advantage of sports is that you can get out some of your anger by hitting balls or running. A divorce is hard, but don’t let it ruin your life, your fun, and your relationships with your parents and friends. (Rofes 1981: pg. 31-32)
Children are often forced to pick sides in a divorce. Then, as always, it is important for children to have some one to talk to about the emotions they are experiencing. Holidays, especially Christmas, are very difficult for kids to adjust to after a divorce. It might be a good idea to relieve anxiety over this by letting the parents set up the holiday visiting schedule.
Whether in a positive or negative way, the children of divorce will be affected for the rest of their lives. It causes you to feel many things and causes many changes in your life. You have to think of your family and your world differently. But there will come a day when you will be able to look back without the intense pain you felt earlier. While divorce never ends, it grows easier to live with once you accept the fact that, for better or worse, you have survived one of the hardest experiences any child has to face.