There’s no arguing our teenagers are growing up in a world that is changing more rapidly than the world we knew as adolescents. For most of us, remote control television changers, microwaves, large clunky car phones and a new computer in the classroom marked the technological revolutions that captivated us with their ability to instantly connect us beyond our secure and safe little world.
Youth today have grown up never knowing a television with knobs or buttons, having always popped popcorn in the microwave. Theirs is a fast-paced ever-changing world, where most kids own a cell phone that doubles as a mini-computer. Six years ago, the sites most frequented by youth – You Tube, Facebook and MySpace didn’t even exist.
For today’s youth, fast, abrupt change is a fact of life and they weather it well.
Except when change is due to divorce.
While there is a myriad of research available on the impact of divorce on teenagers, none of it measures the specific impact the disruption of the family has on an already turbulent time for teens, and much of the information is conflicting. While one study says divorce is more difficult on boys, another study will say divorce has a more negative effect on girls. The good news is, teens are remarkably resilient and many, given a supportive outlet in which to discuss their feelings, and the ability to maintain a positive, solid relationship with both parents, can rebuild, rebound, and heal the wounds they suffered in the cross-fire.
A 1991 study published in the journal of Science cites many studies suggesting children with divorced parents were more likely than those from intact families to be rated by parents and teachers as having behavioral problems and to score lower on reading and mathematical achievement tests. Recent studies indicate children exposed to marital conflict and discord exhibited the same behavior and academic challenges.
It comes as no surprise that kids being tossed in the middle of marital conflict don’t do well in school and may have more social and behavior problems. So it should be no surprise that many of the same difficulties are present before the actual divorce itself and may be actually magnified by the divorce itself.
Coming Next: What Parents and Teachers Can Do To Help Students Through Divorce