4 million Americans were divorced compared to 3 million in 1970. Moreover, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parents divorce before they turn 18. Mounting evidence from several studies indicate that children from divorce or separated families have more likelihood of becoming depressed, doing poor in school and struggle with peer relationships. Studies also show that children of divorced families exhibited a surge in alcohol and drug problems, negative self-concepts, greater conflict with parents, a lower standard of living, a greater risk of being a single parent and poorer physical health. (Gilbert, 2000). The purpose of this paper is to concentrate on the negative impact divorce has on children and to help determine what society can do to help our future generation. .
Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
There are several reasons a teenager might start to drink alcohol or use drugs. The first and most common answer would be to blame the media for glamorizing the use of alcohol and making it look like the cool thing to do. The second reason could be peer pressure which is a strong influence as adolescents struggle to fit in and find acceptance. The third reason is self-medication. Many people would only apply this to adults and only wonder why a teen would feel the need to self-medicate. Adolescence is such a trying time that many are ridden with anxiety and depression. The divorce of ones parents can only contribute to these factors. According to the study conducted in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (Wallerstein, Lewis & Blakeslee, 2000) twenty-five percent of children from divorced families had used alcohol and/or drugs before the age of fourteen, thirty percent had used alcohol and/or drugs by the age of seventeen and eighty-five percent heavily used alcohol and/or drugs during high school. The same study compared children of intact families and found that nine percent of these children used alcohol and/or drugs before the age of fourteen, forty-seven percent had used alcohol and/or drugs by the age of seventeen and twenty-four percent heavily used alcohol and/or drugs during high school.