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HDFS 129 notes 14

by: Camryn McCabe

HDFS 129 notes 14 HDFS 129

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Camryn McCabe
Penn State
GPA 3.81

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divorce notes from 4/12 - 4/14
Intro to HDFS
Molly Countermine
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Camryn McCabe on Sunday April 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HDFS 129 at a university taught by Molly Countermine in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views.


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Date Created: 04/17/16
HDFS 129 notes 14 (4/12 – 4/14) Divorce and its impact on the family Judith Wallerstein Study  Began in 1971- divorce was thought to be a brief crisis and that the divorce rate would drop  60 families, 131 kids  Homogenous group: well-educated, middle and upper class, no prior emotional problems  Divorce “under the best of circumstances”  Wallerstein expected her study to end in a year or so  Interviews and questionnaires to measure adjustment (kids, parents, teachers of kids) Results at 18 months  Adults still angry; lives not put back together  Kids “seemed to be on a downward course”  Toddlers were like “babies holding up the world” o Had weight of world on their shoulders  She was refunded for another 5 years with 90% participation Results at 5 years: adults  50% of men felt more content  75% of women felt more content  50% of men felt just as unhappy  25% of women felt just as unhappy Results at 5 years: children  1/3 doing well  40% had significant problems  Remaining kids had some problems  Majority felt their parents had given priority to adult needs more than kids’’ needs  Majority still wanted parents to get back together  10% felt relieved when parents divorced Conventional wisdom about divorce HDFS 129 notes 14 (4/12 – 4/14)  As parents put their lives back together, the kids lives will also improve  Not what research has found  Circumstances that enrich as adult’s life do not necessarily trickle down to kids (new job, new love, new friends)  Less time, less focus, less available for kids  Wallerstein sough funds for a 10-year follow up  For kids, families are supposed to support their psychological and emotional into maturity  When the family structure collapses, the child’s world hoses its support  Most kids found out about the divorce on the day of separation  Many felt angry and powerless (especially the older ones)  Fewer than 10% of kids had any adult express sympathy to them as the divorce unfolded  Divided Loyalties: kids are put into the position that if they give sympathy or love to one parent, they are being disloyal to the other Issues kids have to deal with  Being forced to move; leaving behind friends, schools, other support  Having 2 parents in 2 different homes  Weekend visits, less time with friends  Having to adjust to parents’ new boyfriends/girlfriends  Carving out a new relationship with father  Adolescence beings earlier; responsibilities, risk-taking behavior, sexual activity  Different issues for different age groups at time of divorce HDFS 129 notes 14 (4/12 – 4/14) Preschoolers  Fear of abandonment  Confusion about visitation, time o Don’t understand “next week”  Difficulty comforting self 5-8  Preoccupation with feelings of rejection, guilt, and loss  Fear of being replaced  Males began to have intense longing for father 9-12  Intense anger  Psychosomatic symptoms  Acting as caregivers to adults to the exclusion of their own needs o “Parentified children” Adolescents (13-18)  Worry about their own relationships  Because they understand complexity, they have difficulty sorting through all the issues  Parents often thought they would be “old enough to understand”  Either separate or become “enmeshed” with one or both parents Emerging Adulthood  “Sleeper effect”  Anxiety about their own successful involvement in romatinc relationships  Females were preoccupied with betrayal; behavior took many forms  Males avoided relationships, or were very reserved emotionally HDFS 129 notes 14 (4/12 – 4/14) How to help children cope with divorce  Understanding divorce: give info, tell kids at the same time and as soon as a decision is made to separate o Initially at level of youngest child  Stability: stay in activities; parents remain committed to kids’ lives  Dealing with loss; permission to love both parents  Dealing with anger  Dealing with guilt  Accepting permanence of divorce  Taking a chance on love Should parents stay together “for the sake of the children”?  Young adults who perceive their parents’ marriage as high in conflict fared better if their parents divorced and the conflict ended  Young adults who perceive their parents’ marriage as low in conflict fared worse  For all kids, if divorces is followed by inept parenting and/or continued conflict, divorce is detrimental  At the same time, high conflict in a marriage is detrimental Poor adjustment in children after divorce is associated with:  Continuing conflict between parents  Decline in parental support  Loss of contact with non-custodial parent  Economic decline  Decline in parental supervision/monitoring  Moving Children with divorced parents experience more problems:  Depression/anxiety  Lower academic achievement  Poor self-concept HDFS 129 notes 14 (4/12 – 4/14)  Decreased social competence  Healthy problems  Behavior problems  More likely to divorce as adults  Age at time of divorce doesn’t predict whether or not there are problems; it predicts the types of problems children have Poor adjustment to divorce in adults in associated with:  Lack of social support network  Economic hardship  Not wonting marriage to end  Identity intensely tied to being married  History of psychological problems  Viewing divorces as a personal failure  Presence of children’s behavior problems  Continuing conflict with ex-spouse


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