in the United States, and most of the Western Civilization, more than 90 percent of people marry. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health and also good for children. Growing up in a happy home decreases the likelihood of mental, physical, educational and social problems. Unfortunately, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.
Approximately 50% 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.
One of every 10 children whose parents have divorced will also see three or more subsequent parental marriage breakups. (Gallager, Maggie. The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love)
Of all children born to married parents this year, fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday. (Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector, “The Effects of Divorce on America,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, May 2000.)
The Physical Effects of Divorce on Children
Children whose parents have divorced are more likely to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech impediments than children whose parents have remained married. (Dawson, Deborah. “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53(August 1991):573-84.)
Following a divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two parent families. (Ronald Angel and Jacqueline L. Worobey, “Single Motherhood and Children’s Health,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 29 (1985): 38 – 52.)
Children living with both biological parents are 20 to 35 percent more physically healthy than children from homes without both biological parents present.
The Emotional Effects of Divorce on Children
Studies from the early 1980’s demonstrated that children in situations where their parents had been involved in multiple divorces earned lower grades than their peers and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around. (Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage; Harvard University Press 1981)
Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are 300% more likely to need psychological help within any given year than teens from intact, nuclear families. (Peter Hill, “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993)
Children from divorced homes have more psychological problems than children who lost a parent to death. (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment, Sage Publications, 1988)
People who come from broken homes are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who do not come from broken homes. (Velez-Cohen, “Suicidal Behavior and Ideation in a Community Sample of Children” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1988)
The Educational Effects of Divorce on Children
Children of divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of high school than their peers who are still living with parents who did not divorce. (McLanahan, Sandefur, Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, Harvard University Press 1994)
Statistics About Fatherlessness
Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers.
(Wade, Horn and Busy, Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform, Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997)
About 40% of children who do not live with their biological father have not seen him during the past 12 months; more than half of them have never been in his home and 26% of those fathers live in a different state than their children. (Father Facts, Fourth Edition (2002), National Fatherhood Initiative)
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Sudden change can be hard on children. Always remember to keep conflict away from the children and take care of yourself.