(Zenit.org)- Each year in the United States over a million children are the innocent parties to the divorce of their parents. While divorce also hurts the parents it is the children who particularly suffer, according to recent research.The findings come in a study published in January by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, “The Effects of Divorce on Children,” by Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill.
Drawing on a large amount of published research on the effects of divorce, their paper goes through a series of areas where divorce harms children. The first one regards parent-child relationships. As would be expected, divorce affects the ability of parents to relate to their children.
One study found that the stress caused by divorce damages the relationship between children and their mothers for as many as 40% of divorced mothers. This insufficiency is more marked by the time children are in high school and college.
In practical terms this means that after divorce, children receive less emotional support, financial assistance, and help from their parents. There is also a decrease in academic stimulation, pride, affection, and encouragement of social maturity. Fewer toys and more corporal punishment is another consequence for children of divorced parents.
Most, around 90%, of children remain with their mother following a divorce. It then becomes difficult for the father to maintain close ties, the study reported. In one study nearly half of the children said they had not seen their father in the past year.
Another aspect covered in the study by Fagan and Churchill is the effect of divorce on religious practice among children. They found that following divorce, children are more likely to cease practicing their faith.
This lessening of religious practice means that children suffer from a lack of the beneficial effects of religion, in areas as diverse as marital stability, education, income, and physical and mental health…
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