Divorce and Its Effect on Self Esteem

Sample Term Paper

Words 1,600

Parents play a key role in the development of self-esteem; it is not astonishing that a disruption in the parental relationship would have an effect on that growth. After the divorce, a major change in parenting takes place simply because of the absence of the non-custodial parent. Mruk (1995) found that children with parents who are absent often or for long periods of time display lower levels of self-esteem. Children often view this parental absence as a sort of refusal and in turn question their worth (Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). They may experience nervousness over the fear that if the love in the marriage relationship can end, so too could the love in the parent-child relationship. Socio-economic status might also change with divorce. Instead of only one household to maintain, now there are two. Spending habits are often shortened, and activities and purchases that were once commonplace now become rare. Children are often intensely aware of these changes in spending and finances. Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) found that three-quarters of the 136 children they studied reported fears about basic needs being met. The majority of divorce cases end with maternal custody of the child, which also leads to changes in family lifestyle. Many women feel obliged to return to work or obtain training and education for a career.

The consequence for children is that mom is much less presented in addition to dad being rarely present (McKay, et al., 1984). Routines and traditions change radically, and the world that the child was familiar to is suddenly turned upside down. Not only do both parents often have less time for the child, they are also both struggling with emotional issues and modification of their own. McKay et al. (1984) found that as the primary parent struggles to keep poignant balance and still manage the home, children receive less attention. Accurately when they need more support and nurturing, they often do without. Often under these situations, parenting styles and skills that were originally healthy and nurturing will shift too less optimal forms. Parents who have failed to stabilize their own lives over a period of many years are struggling to raise a child, and the child suffers (Wallerstein, Corbin, & Lewis, 1988).

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