Critical evaluation of divorce in today's society
| The nuclear family system plays an integral role in our society. After all, for many people it serves as a primary purpose for living. Family is one of the most instrumental phenomena of our microcosm. Valuable benefits are enjoyed by those persons who take part in such an entity. Unfortunately, the condition of today’s nuclear family is decaying. The resulting consequence is, members of the family are effected detrimentally. Primarily, the declining nature in quality of the family system can be explained by the rising rates of divorce. Ultimately, the ramifications of a broken home can potentially result in emotional and behavior issues for the children involved and reduced sense of family values for the parent or parents responsible. Today, divorce which occurs for a multitude of reasons, is on the rise and has a negative impact on every individual member of the family and society as a whole. Solutions must be implemented if this institution is to remain a strong element in the social fabric of our society.
Divorce today occurs for a many number of reasons. There will always be reasonable circumstances which deem divorce as an appropriate action to resolve an unhealthy relationship. In some instances it is in the families best interest to terminate an unhealthy marriage, which for whatever reasons did not respond to efforts made to rectify the problem. If there is a physically or emotionally abusive spouse belonging to the marriage it may be pertinent to resolve such an issue through means of divorce for example. However, the conditions which are used to justify divorce in a marriage are becoming increasingly numerous and less severe. Furthermore, as time has progressed in American culture attitudes about family values and marriage have altered. For example, currently attitudes are focused primarily on the individual’s personal desires as opposed to a greater objective which benefits the nuclear family unit as a whole. Reasons for divorcing based on such personal desires encompasses such issues as mid-life crisis, monetary disputes and need for sexual intercourse which is being inadequately fulfilled by one’s partner. Oftentimes when a person in the marriage is unhappy they assume that leaving the marriage will alleviate their unhappiness. However, Linda Waite a sociologist of the University of Chicago discovered otherwise. Through an analysis of marriage, divorce and its correlation to happiness, Waite reported some interesting findings. What she reported was that people who were unhappy and divorced as a result were no more happy after the marriage ended(Waite 2003). Another reason marriages are being terminated is that often times couples are venturing into marriage with unrealistic optimism that, unresolved issues existing previous to marriage will be resolved some time after marriage is inaugurated. However, once it is realized that the issues are clearly unyielding, significant efforts to remedy such issues are not made. Divorce as a result of the above reasons, has increased over time to include approximately fifty percent of all marriages. Divorce undoubtedly is one of the most difficult types of relationships to be in. The bottom line is, in most circumstances of divorce, adequate efforts are not being made to keeping the marriage cohesive.
There are many reasons why divorce has a negative impact on the family. Both parents maintaining a healthy relationship is an important element in also maintaining a healthy family. Hypothetically, to ensure the utmost healthiness of the family system, each individual must fulfill their individual role in the system. The concept of members of the family benefitting from the advantages of belonging to a family, relies upon the family remaining intact. Benefits of belonging to a healthy family system are reduced for the parents as well as the children when a divorce occurs. Once a parent relinquishes their role within the family’s household, the family’s health, resolve and structure is depressed considerably. In a number of cases the overall state of the family is that of disrepair, thus negatively effecting the family in a spectrum of lifestyle situations. Subsequently, restoring the family’s well-being can be an arduous and time-consuming process.
Divorce can have a traumatic effect on all parties involved. Effects of divorce on children in particular is a weighty issue which should not be neglected by our society. None the less every member of the family unit is impacted negatively. The implications of divorce are numerous. Emotional and psychological issues often present themselves and continue long-term preceding the termination of a marriage. Depression Anxiety and behavior problems for children along with other psychological implications can manifest themselves as a result of a divorce. Children who are the product of a broken home are more likely to have behavior problems and are more likely to find divorce as an acceptable means to resolving marital problems. Also, studies have shown that children from divorced parents are more likely to suffer from poverty and abuse than children from families who remained intact(Fagan 2005). Various physical and psychological health problems are also a ramification of children and adults alike who experience divorce. According to Augustine Kposowa, men who divorced are more likely to commit suicide at some point in their lifetime(Kposowa 2003). Several studies claim to show a positive correlation between health problems and divorce. According to Engstrom “Marital dissolution is followed by an increased incidence of stroke”(Engstrom 2004 318-24). Another study found that cancer rates are higher for those who divorce(Goodwin 1987). Heart disease, increased death rate, increased job stress, arthritis, depression and anxiety rates are also higher among those divorced people. For those adults who experience divorce several drug concerns can present themselves. Substance abuse and alcoholism rates are higher for those adults who have experienced a divorce. Studies have shown that divorced and separated adults account for 70% of all chronic alcohol abusers as opposed to 15% for married persons(Gilman 2003). Aside from physical and mental well-being, monetary dilemmas can occur as well. After divorce occurs the family’s monetary situation often suffers. The is due mostly to the fact that following divorce the family’s household is split in two. Furthermore, the actual costs of experiencing a divorce such as obtaining legal council can be a heavy burden alone. Thus, the family’s financial costs increase considerably, and everyone involved is effected negatively.
The consequences of divorce are not only limited to the confines of the family unit itself. Ramifications of divorce effect our society as a whole. With society’s values of maintaining a cohesive family unit relaxing, the justifications to resorting to divorce are increasing, thus negatively impacting our culture’s overall outlook on divorce. Divorce as a result is becoming increasingly socially acceptable. With more social acceptability comes an increased rate in the numbers of unwanted side effects caused by divorce such as , behavior problems with children, increased teen pregnancy, increased drug abuse and psychological and physiological health problems. Thus, with an increase in an unhealthy population comes a decrease in our society’s overall standard of living.
Solutions for divorce should be more actively executed so that the stability of the family can be preserved. There are a number of solutions which could aid in reducing the divorce rate in this country. One logical solution to divorce is to ascribe the importance of family values to children at a young age. Doing this will fortify an individuals sentiments towards family values in later years to come. This incintive could be the most impacting solution to offer. Through a deductive logical process, the individual will still have ample opportunity, to question these ascribed values, and come to their own rational conclusions on such beliefs. Also, parents who are contemplating a divorce should be encouraged to work out their various issues so that the marriage can remain intact. In some circumstances in which a married couple seeks to resolve an issue, it may be pertinent to seek the help of an outside professional entity. One such option is marital counseling. Shifting attitudes to focus on the greater well-being of the family unit as opposed to one individuals particular dilemma, is an idea which could also aid in keeping the family together in difficult times. If the importance of marriage can be strengthened among the people of our society, it would ultimately promote the country’s political system to adjust its goals towards encouraging cohesive marriages more of a priority. Various programs could be implemented to aid in the reduction of divorce. For, example in order to obtain a divorce within one’s state it could be mandated that a divorce education program be taken. Politically implemented programs that function through both reward and consequence could make an impact on divorce rates.
Fortunately, America’s nuclear family still maintains a strong position in our culture. Furthermore, although more difficult, divorced families can still maintain a healthy family unit. Some may argue that divorce being a pertinent issue is based on subjective values which varies upon each individual’s subjective perspective. However, the benefits of being part of and being raised in a healthy family along the negative aspects of divorce are undeniable. It is important that members of the family understand that in some circumstances the well-being of the family supercedes any one individual’s personal inclinations which are not in the best interest of the family. Although what constitutes happiness varies upon each individuals subjective reality, being part of a family is a critical ingredient to lead a more fulfilling life for many. Thus, society must be encouraged to further embrace family above all else, as the remarkable phenomenon of our world that it authentically is.
Waite, Linda J.; Don Browning, William J. Doherty, Maggie Gallagher, Ye Luo, and Scott M. Stanley (2003)
Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages
Kposawa, Augustine (2003)
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The Effects of Divorce in America Backgrounder #1373. The Heritage Foundation
Gilman, Stephen E.; Ichiro Kawachi, Garrett M. Fitzmaurice, and Stephen L. Buka (May 2003).
"Family Disruption in Childhood and Risk of Adult Depression". American Journal of Psychiatry 160: 939-946.
Goodwin, James S.; William C. Hunt, Charles R. Key and Jonathan M. Sarmet (1987). "The Effect of Marital Status on Stage, Treatment, and Survival of Cancer Patients". Journal of the American Medical Association 258: 3125-3130.
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