Investigate Development Case: Childhood Post-Divorce Adjustment
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Investigate Development Case: Childhood Post-Divorce Adjustment
Consult the Research to understand the factors that affect a child’s post-divorce adjustment.
Conflict between parents is detrimental to children’s adjustment post-divorce.
· The more parental conflict there is, the higher the risk for adjustment problems to children (Krishnakumar & Buehler, 2000). These adjustment problems are academic, emotional, social, and even health related (Kelly & Emery, 2003; Troxel & Matthews, 2004).
· Conflict between parents after divorce can be less than, unchanged, or greater than pre-divorce (Kelly & Emery, 2003). The literature on the relative contributions of pre- and post-divorce parental conflict on childhood adjustment is mixed. Hetherington (1999) reported that post-divorce conflict is associated with more childhood adjustment difficulties than conflict during the marriage; whereas other studies have shown that conflict during the marriage is a better predictor of adjustment problems (Buehler et al., 1998; Kline, Johnston, & Tschann, 1990).
· Interparental conflict that is unresolved and is perceived as involving the child is the most damaging to a child’s well-being (Davies et al., 2002; Grych & Fincham, 1993).
One big risk factor of bad outcomes for children after divorce is a lack of time spent with a nonresident parent.
· Lack of time with a parent who no longer lives with the child – usually the father – puts a child at risk for a number of struggles such as increased hostility, psychological disorders, and health problems (Fabricius & Luecken, 2007).
· Current research has found that the relationship between fathers and their children gets better the more parenting time fathers have up to 50% whereas the relationship between the child and their mother is not harmed when fathers spend up to the 50% time limit with the child (Fabricius et al., 2012).
· Parents with joint custody of their children have kids that are better adjusted than those in sole custody families, regardless of the amount of conflict between the parents (Bauserman, 2002).
Socioeconomic status also plays a role in post-divorce adjustment for children.
· Socioeconomic status (SES) is a family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. This includes how much money the family has, the neighborhood they live in, and the parents’ jobs (APA, 2017).
· Families who experience parental divorce often also experience a decrease in SES and standard of living, especially for children and their primary caregiver but even for the nonresident parent (Duncan & Hoffman, 1985).
· Having a change, particularly a decline in SES, can often lead to other changes which can be stressful for a child including changing schools, moving, and leaving friends. These changes can also have a negative impact on kids (Kelly & Emery, 2003).
How is the child adjusting post-divorce? Investigate the Evidence in her case.
City of New SOUTHBOROUGH Second District Court Parenting Plan and Joint Custody Agreement Case number: 64324 Parenting plan (checked) permanent (blank) temporary (blank) Child (or children) Name: Dana Mason Date of Birth: March 12, 2008 Mother Name: Janet Mason Address: 124 West Street Father Name: Greg Mason Address: 3762 Central Boulevard Joint Custody We will have joint custody. (checked) Mother or (blank) father will have primary physical custody or (blank) we will have equally shared physical custody. We understand that joint custody does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. Parenting Time The children will be in Mother’s care as follows: Child will be residing with their mother at her apartment, with the exception of every other weekend. The children will be in Fathers’s care as follows: Every second weekend, the child will be in the care of their father (picked up from their mother’s house at 6 p.m., Friday, and returned by 6 p.m. Sunday. Signed, Janet Mason and Greg Mason Date: April 12, 2013 So ordered this 12 of April, 2013. Signed, The Judge
Q. How is Dana settling in to her new school? A. (Tentatively) She’s doing ok. It can be daunting for any child to integrate into a new school and Dana has found it challenging at times. She tends to prefer her own company and will happily get on with activities on her own, but when it comes to working in a group she can become quite introverted and shy. She’s pretty quiet and can often find it hard to talk to the other children.
Q. How is Dana coping academically? A. I’m pleased to say that academically Dana is doing well. A child’s ability to focus in class can easily be affected when they move school or there is some instability at home so this is something we try and look out for, but so far there hasn’t been anything that would cause us concern from an academic standpoint. In fact Dana is near the top of her class in most subjects.
Q. Do you notice any difference in Dana as the week goes on? A. Dana seems more cheerful when her father drops her off at school, and this is about every other weekend. The weeks that she has stayed with her dad she seems more receptive to the other children and more willing to play with them and join in group activities, although there is generally a noticeable decline in this attitude over the course of the week. Sometimes she seems tired, she will put her head on the desk – this isn’t an everyday occurrence, but I have noticed it more in Dana than the other children. I think mom is under a lot of pressure and kids pick up on that.
voicemail messages between Dana’s parents below
Janet: Hi, it’s me. I was just calling to see if Dana had settled down. I know it’s tough for her to go back and forth and I worry to think she might be unsettled all weekend. This isn’t easy for anyone. I know we’re happier now…but what about Dana? Anyway, if you could call me back and let me know she’s ok, that would be great.
Greg: Hi, just putting Dana to bed and she’s fine….We do need to work out this school situation though. Dana just doesn’t seem happy there and I don’t want her education to suffer because of us. We need to talk about her going back to her old school. Speak to you later….
Janet: Greg, I thought we’d been over this? I know the school is close to you but there’s just no way I can get her across town in time for school every day and get back to work. Does she know you’re trying to change her school again? We can’t put her in the middle of this. Bye.
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