Free «How Divorce Affects Children's Behavior in the Classroom» Essay Sample

Every year, the lives of more than one million youths are disrupted by divorce. According to a research, Children of Divorce Project (CDP), it was indicated that during schooling there is a higher risk of having problems with the children arising from either one parent family or divorced. The results of the research showed that two-thirds of children from divorced families showed observable school behavioral changes while one-third of the children experienced problems during learning. Income was identified as the most critical factor that puts the children of divorced parents at a more risk and contributes more to the problems the children face in their education than the father’s absence. There are, however, different types of behaviors that are observed on the in these children arising from divorced family depending on their age, sex among other factors. As a result of different behaviors, there are different actions that are expected of them. Therefore, being familiar with this information will be helpful in solving their school problems. The main aim of this research paper is to discuss the effects of divorce on children’s behavior in the classrooms, and the reasons for divorce in the U.S.

Types of Behaviors Children Express As A Result Of Their Parent’s Divorce

The children become stressed when their parents get a divorce or are going through the processes of divorcing. Due to the stress the children are going to experience daydreaming, nervousness, sadness, dependence, acting out, physical complaints, forgetfulness, weariness, moodiness and declining grades. For preschool children, if they have started attending daycare/preschool during the divorce the children will lose the sense of continuity and stability in the life of pre-schooling. Their home became less secure due to the absence of the father or mother. They will tend to fantasize a lot later when they become older students as the shouting matches, physical aggression or verbal threats of the divorced parents pass through the mind.

Most of the children, commonly aging from 5 to 8-year-olds get worries of whether they will see anybody at home at their arrival from school. For such a child discussing or demonstrating some ideas in the class is not the preferable actions. He or she is lost in the thoughts, is not concentrated on the lessons. .They tend to develop typically frightening fantasies of the consequences of the divorce, for example, the possibility of the remaining parent abandoning them too. This becomes a time to be independent emotionally but the children from separated parents tend to rely on their remaining parent for their security, safety and positive self-esteem. These children also find it difficult to maintain or improve their grades in school or to change a general attitude about school (Divorce, 2010).

According to an article by Karl Zinsmeister, "Divorce's Toll on Children", young children are more likely to be less imaginative, passive watchers and more repetitive in the a few months following divorce. In addition, these children are also observed to be more demanding, disobedient, more dependent, and unaffectionate. They are also scared of bodily harm, being abandoned and loss of love. The students from divorced families were likely to become drug abusers, commit suicide, and commit violent acts and to bear children out of wedlock. The educational achievements are lower from what the students can really have. In the school they become uncooperative and oblivious (Clair, n.d.). On the other hand, some learners can show a positive response to divorce. In the research CDP, it was shown that the disruption at homes trigger the desire to work extremely hard on their studies as well as actively participating in extracurricular activities. The elementally school children are more likely to adapt to arrangements of joint custody so that they try to be tolerant to the parents’ separation than the preschoolers (Divorce, 2010).

How They Might Act Out In School

At the later elementary age children normally feel anger which is directed either to teachers or fellow learners whom they accuse of messing up with their life. Boys may find themselves engaging in fights and poor performance at school at all learning aspects. The girls do not have as many problems as the boys but they try please onlookers by bending backwards. Both boys and girls will be attracted to premature sexual activity. Some have problems with substance abuse, withdrawal from friends and activities, self-injuring behaviors such as dressing inappropriate or doing risk tasks, getting into trouble with the law. Some of these acting out behaviors may result into student’s suspending from school (“Your Child and Divorce at each Developmental Stage”)

Young boys and girls will tend to act rebelliously to administration or any form of leadership in school as a result of the conflict between the parents. Some children, mainly at high school and college may act out through overworking in studies, eating food that is not necessarily unpleasant, such as baked potatoes and carrots, starving, sleep for long periods, doing various odd jobs to earn personal income in order to stop bothering the single parent. (“What are the possible consequences of divorce for children?”)

The Current Divorce Rate of Americans

There are different ways that have been suggested for measuring the divorce rates in America. A report released in August 25, 2011 indicates that divorce rates on men and women vary depending on the state However, the current divorce rate is said to be increasing, it stands at 50 % of first marriages. This implies that almost half of the married couples in the U.S. eventually do not make it in their marriage but end up divorcing. The rate of divorce for the second marriages has been determined to be 67 % while third marriages are rated at 67% which currently end in divorce (Divorce, 2010).

The rate of divorce in the U.S. is also based on the age of individuals in marriage relationship as shown in the table below.

Age Women Men
Under 20 years old 27.6 % 11.7 %
20 to 24 years old 36.6 % 38.8 %
25 to 29 years old 16.4 % 22.3 %
30 to 34 years old 8.5 % 11.6 %
35 to 39 years old 5.1 % 6.5 %

From the table, it is observed that more men across all ages get divorced with their wives except those who are under the age of 20. At this age, the women rate of getting a divorce is higher (“The Next Chapter Expo - Divorce Statistics”).

Reasons for Divorce in the US

There are a number of reasons that trigger or influence a divorce in the U.S. The first is communication breakdown when issues cannot be solved through selfishness. Therefore a divorce remains the easier option. The second reason of disruption of a marriage is financial problems. Moreover, it is one of the greatest cases that lead to the divorce. The third, financial problems showed by economic strains due to wrangles on contribution, expenditure and misuse of family finances normally cause small differences that finally become magnified and lead to divorce. The fourth reason is the existence of frequent emotional abuse through humiliation, verbal insults and taunts cause divorce in the long run.

The fifth, physical abuse which involves violent ways of solving disputes or demonstrating one’s feelings forms one of the main causes of divorce. Physical incompatibility is another rarely spoken of cause of divorce which can refer to for instance, loss of interest in one’s partner. Loss of interest especially at the emotional aspect of intimacy as well as the physical intimacy makes the marriage unreasonable. To set up priorities is natural for the human being, however, when one’s career or position becomes important than the family it will result into misunderstanding and finally into a splitting up. Divorce is also caused by failed expectations which were highly valued at the beginning of the relationship. The last reason is addiction or bad habits, for instance to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes which may ruin marriage (Naik, n.d.).


Divorce is one of the problems the world had faced t today and its peak is witnessed in America. The misunderstanding, constant quarrels may turn out into divorce, and it is children, who lose the most. The consequences of divorce do not spare any child right from the infant right up to the senior youths. The education of the children becomes totally affected mainly due to psychological disorientation and a combination of behavioral changes. Some of the behavior changes are anger, rebellion, and lack of concentration, daydreaming and acting out. Acting out is the most common since it is the way a child will express him/herself to others in a negative way to feel relieved.

The rate of divorce is still high in America. Not only spouses and children experience consequences of it, but the government as well. Among the most common reasons for the divorce are infidelity, physical incompatibility and change of priorities. To save the future marriage and give the children a descent life, everyone should be aware of its causes and consequences and try to do everything possible to prevent it.


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