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Divorce's Shocking Effects on Children

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Even if kids are too young to understand exactly what is going on during a divorce, the effects on their health and well-being are profound. Extra's "Lifechangers" compiled these statistics from about divorce's impact on children.

Shocking Statistics on Children and Divorce

Absentee Fathers

Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers.

Psychological Problems

Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems.

Second Divorces

Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent's marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent's second marriage.

Multiple Breakups

Among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, one of every 10 will also live through three or more parental marriage breakups.

A Birthday to Dread

Of all children born to married parents this year, fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday.

Creating Loners

Studies in the early 1980's showed that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around.

Troubled Teens

Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.

Risk of Injury

Children of divorce are at a greater risk to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than children whose parents have remained married.

Health Problems

Following divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two parent families.

Thriving Kids

Children living with both biological parents are 20 to 35 percent more physically healthy than children from broken homes.

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23 comments so far | Post a comment now
JustMe March 25, 2010, 8:58 AM

The girl in picture #2 looks like Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris.

Momma2Nico March 25, 2010, 9:24 AM

Thanks for the guilt trip, Momlogic. What are the statistics on kids who have only ever had one parent?

Anonymous March 25, 2010, 12:17 PM

What about the psychological damage to the children whose parents absolutely cannot get along and the home is an endless cycle of stress and fighting? For some breaking up is in the best interest of all involved… and why isn’t there a slide that shows the effects of deadbeat mothers? My step-daughter is in far better hands with me and her father than her mother who only screams at her and treats her as a slave.

Mark March 25, 2010, 2:09 PM

The article you refer to is mostly accurate. When children are cut off from their father, which is in about 85 percent of custody cases, and mom alone, get child custody, the effects on children can be very damaging, particularly if a mother alienates the children in what the California Psychological Association official recognizes as Parental Alienation Disorder. In California as across most states Parental Alienation has been a problem for decades, recognized for its scientific validity, (except by extemist hate groups) and is now being considered for inclusion in the DSM-V, the official diagnosis manual of the American Psychological Association.

Black Iris March 26, 2010, 7:29 AM

Some of the health effects could be due to having less money after divorce.

been there March 30, 2010, 4:02 PM

EVERYONE HERE… who is thinking of divorce, separated, already divorced, a relative of someone divorced or divorcing… PLEASE READ THIS BOOK: “Between Two Worlds, The Inner Lives of Children Of Divorce” by Elizabeth Marquardt. It’s real accounts from the first generation of men and women [of prolific divorce that started in the 70’s], now grown. At the very least you will come to really understand what divorce actually does to the kids. All the “happy talk” we’ve been fed about divorce just isn’t reality!

Becky April 15, 2010, 3:06 AM

Well, I have always been grateful that my parents divorced, especially after I got older and realized what a screw up my father was (and yes, I saw him regularly after my parents divorced). Working in an ER, I cannot tell you how many abused women come in and tell us they are staying in the marriage “for the sake of the kids”. Some marriages are not worth saving, and some definitely should NOT be saved. When I read this stuff, I always wonder if they are factoring in economic status, the home life pre-divorce, or what the psychological background of the parents happens to be (which does have a genetic effect on how the kids turn out), or any number of other factors that can play a role in how children turn out. Or hey, if you are talking about the 40% of fathers who don’t see their kids after a divorce, how many of those don’t because a)a woman is trying to protect her child from an abusive man, or b) the guy just walked away - which shows just how dedicated he was to that kid in the first place, huh? What a lovely parent he would have been to that child! Let’s see an article on how many fathers/mothers actually pay their court-ordered child support. Way to load a guilt trip onto parents out there who divorce BECAUSE it was the right thing for their kids!!

Dd April 27, 2010, 9:14 PM

How about those like me, lesbian moms whose ex decides to torture the non biological parent who has no legal right of access to the kids despite planning/paying for insemination and continue to financially support the kids but get limited and finally no access to kids who call them mom. My ex is just downright cruel to the kids and I.

Katie's Mom May 17, 2010, 12:54 PM

Well, you know what they say - There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. This little “photo essay” does nobody any favors by pulling out a few numbers that support an overly simplistic point of view.
As other comments point out, there are no numbers here to support the many reasons why, in many cases, divorce is the best thing for the children and the parents.
While two parents in a loving relationship is a great way to raise a child, what about the consequences to the child of living with two parents who can’t stand each other?
There are as many “right” way to raise a child as there are individual parents and children. It is not productive to try to throw numbers at the situation to try to force a single solution on everyone.
In this case, one size definitely does not fit all.

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