Divorce has increased dramatically throughout the years effecting children of all ages. "The current divorce rate in America is estimated at 50%, of those divorced couples 40% have children" (Parker, 2014). No matter the circumstance divorce greatly effects a child's life. The Ultimate question that has been asked by Dr. Phil is when a marriage is not going well, is it better for the child if the parents get a divorce or if they stay together? Reviewing research over the effects of divorce on children, the effects on children living in a two-parent home in which the parents' marriage is of low quality, and factors considered when comparing the two different options have led to position that it is best for children if parents stay together unless all measures have been taken to save a high-conflict marriage then divorce should be an option.
The Effects of Divorce on Children.
Divorce can have different effects on different children. Without knowing all of the variables of the divorce it will not have same effect on every child. In a research study by Amato and Keith (1991), their "meta-analysis showed that children from divorced families scored significantly lower than children with continuously married parents on a variety of outcomes, including academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept, and social competence" (Hetherington, 1985, p.522). Studies show that younger children, ages 6 to 10, are the most vulnerable and have more adjustment problems that children who were older when their parents divorced. .
One of the biggest fears for children is change and at such a young age, young children lack the coping skills necessary to deal with changes that associate with divorce. They become "emotionally needy", and grow a loss of attachment towards a parent, sibling, or pet. They fear abandonment and that they might lose the other parent.