INTRODUCTIONThis research study isa course requirement for technical writing in Psychology assigned by instructorMam Nasreen Sayeed. The topic of the research is Children experiences ofparental divorce which mainly encompasses of experiences of the separationprocess and the change in child’s relationships after the parent’s divorce.BACKGROUNDThe amount of divorcecases in Pakistan is increasing, which raised the consequences faced by thechild who experience this sort of change in his/her life. The purpose of thisresearch study is to explain how parental divorce affects children’s lives,from their standpoints, including their feelings regarding the changes that takeplace in their lives because of their parent’s separation. Thedivorce rate in Pakistan has increased even though thedivorce rate in Pakistan is relatively lower than the regional and westerncountries because of the fact that most of the marriages are arranged. Even ifa girl is unhappy with the marriage, she would compromise and stay because ofthe prevailing cultural taboos but still, it isn’t as low that could beneglected.
Divorce, not only leave a lasting impact on the couple but leave along term impact on their children. These children are at risk for developing amyriad of negative consequences from their exposure to divorce. Children exposed to prolonged inter-parentalconflict tend to suffer from variety of emotional, behavioural andphysiological problems that can continue into adulthood. Exposure to suchconflict threatens a child’s emotional security, can negatively affect theparent/child relationship, and can increase a child’s risk of internalizing andexternalizing disorders. PURPOSE OF THE STUDYThe purpose of thisresearch study is to gain insight, from children’s own particular viewpoint, ofthe effect of parental divorce on their lives and relationships. Additionally,our purpose is to explore uncovered experiences of a child due to parentalseparation. Parental divorce brings about a series of modifications in achild’s life, such as changes in family arrangements and most importantly, inrelationships with parents that brings worry on both parents and children. Aseverything carries both positive and negative connotation so, in this scenario,Sometimes, The separation of parents brings positive changes to child’s livesas well.
Divorce usually leadsto decline in the quality and frequency of children relationship with theirparents. Contact with the other parent becomes less and it eventually leads todiminish ties with that parent. Children engage into more distant relationshipwith that parent which leads to a negative change in their bond.
Theirrelationship with their parents usually get worsen after the divorce, theydemand reassurance as they have already faced one parent leaving them foreverwithout explanation. Some children only ascertainedthat separation had happened when a parent left home and did not return.RESEARCH QUESTION/ SUB-QUESTION.How parental divorceaffect children?How Children’srelationship with their parents changes after parental divorce?What are the Children’sperspectives of the impact of parental separation on their family lives,relationships and lifestyles?What are the positiveaspects of parental divorce?What are the children’sexperiences of the divorce process, and those aspects which adds, negatively orpositively, to children’s adjustment to the process of parental divorce?METHODOLOGYThe methodology we usedwas qualitative and the fundamental accentuation was on understanding theimportance of parental separation for children, drawing on their subjectiveexperiences. The use of qualitative methodology is important to comprehend thelived experiences of children of divorce as well as to reveal possible newoutcomes that cannot be measured by fixed quantitative processes.
Four respondents from the Divorced sampleagreed to participate in one-to-one interviews. The interviews weresemi-structured, consisting of 8 core questions. Respondents were informedbefore the session that their contact information will remain confidential andthat the interview would be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim for qualitydata analysis purposes.
Design of the StudyThe research was conducted by using the case study methodwhich encompasses of one-to-one interviews and observation. Interviews weredesigned keeping in a way which focus on the representation of particularcontext in the eyes of interviewee. While coding, Researcher looked at obviousmeaning, remaining close to the participant verbatim. Target AudienceThe study explores theexperience of parental separation for children aged 18-22.Sampling The sampling included 4 participant. Participant, with ages 18-24years, attaining higher education from University of central Punjab, took partin the research study.
Data collection procedureDuring the data collection, the participant engaged in asemi-structured interview session. Each interview was led by a verbal consentto record the session, which lasted for 20 minutes. During the interview, theparticipant responded to 8 open-ended questions that shed light on theirexperiences of their parent’s divorce. In response to the participant’sreplies, follow up questions were asked to get a proper answer that fulfils theresearch objectives. The data recorded was later transcribed verbatim by theinterviewer. RESULTSThis sectionnarrates the finding of the study. Four themes emerged from the data.
Thesethemes are (a) Post DivorceAdjustment (Compromise) (b) Blamingfather for separation (c) Maternal Attachment (d) Positiveoutcomes of divorce Theme No.1: Post Divorce Adjustment (Compromise): Divorce is not apleasant experience for anyone obviously but it takes different time foreveryone to get adjusted after it. When we asked this thing to our participantswe found one thing common that all of them has somehow adjusted to the postdivorced setup they compromise somehow because they wanted stability in their liveswhen we asked them have you got adjusted to the post divorced setup one of theparticipants said:”It is not easy but somehow we didbecause there is no other option left but it took long time”It seems like they haveaccepted it anyway as there was the only thing they could do. Life is unfairsometimes that is what they elaborated when asked about it when they also agreeon this point that whenever they see their friends with their parents happilythey feel void, gape and that space in their own family.One of the participantsaid:”Life is unfair sometimes,(sarcastic laugh) everyone has to adjust eventually. I haven’t accepted it yetbut I have accepted life. As I live with my grandfather’s home.
I have adjustedwith it but obviously it is just a compromise. And life of my mom is full ofsuch compromises and still it is.” Theme No.2. Blaming father for separation:In our findings themost common thing that we encountered was that all the participants wereblaming their fathers for divorce. Something was wrong with their fathers thatthing leaded towards the divorce and they all were very much assured about it.One of the participantadded that:”I am living with my father becausemy mother was not in a position to support us this is the only reason otherwisemy father is always angry and a strict man that’s why it all happened.”And maybe it’s auniversal phenomenon that children experience more attachment and love towardstheir mothers rather than fathers and we all see father as a prominent figurewhen it comes to any financial support and in all of the four cases we had theyall had some financial issues as well that’s why they blame their fathers thathe should haven’t done this to us.
The one thing which wenotice in our findings was they were not attach to their fathers as I discussedit above, as they used to spend more time with their mothers rather than theirfathers and they were blaming their fathers for all this.The one mature answer Igot from one of my participant was “My father is responsible for allthis as he used to live in abroad he lived there for like 10-13 years and he isvery much conservative and overly religious person and y mother is open mindedbut when my father came back he forced us to change our living style accordingto him and we couldn’t do that and he used to fight on this reason daily it wasthe big reason for that.”And most of them facedfinancial crisis as well and for that they blame their fathers as their fatherscould support them but they didn’t.So they all concludedour fathers is responsible for all of sufferings of our mothers. Theme No.3: Maternal Attachment Our findings clearlydepicts that all of these four participants are closely attach to their mothersas compare to their fathers as they were clearly saying this that after andduring all these things the that happened to our family the person who hassuffered a lot is our mom .One of thoseparticipant clearly said that:”The most difficult thing Iencountered during the separation of our parents was seeing my mother crying Iam closely attach to my mother and I cannot see her crying but I saw her cryinglike anything and I couldn’t do anything.
“They all were aware oftheir sufferings and claimed that our mothers had done a lot for us that’s whywe are here otherwise we couldn’t be able to stand on our own feet. One of the participantadded that:”My mother was the only person whosuffered for her children. We were not financially strong at that time but mymother didn’t give up she has done everything for us for her children and shestill is doing that “The main reason maybethat they are closely attach to their mother is that they have seen her motherfighting for their livings as in our society it is not easy for a women toraise her children alone and their children recognizes her efforts that’s whyand they have considered their father a strong personality who could evensupport them but they didn’t.
One of the participanttold that they have spent more time with his mother as his father used to livein abroad and they were totally dependent upon their mother. Theme No. 4: The positive outcomes of Divorce:Adivorce is a ground-breaking experience for children. It turns their worldupside down. They don’t comprehend the divorce exceptionallywell. All they know is that everything will be entirely different from now. Divorcedoes abolish a family life.
We all agree on this point yet once in a while by one means or another we begin discoveringpositive outcomes in it. Possibly it’s our own coping style with this harsh fixor something to that effect.Justto make us satisfy we may conclude some of the positive aspects out of bignegative event in life.
Same is the case was with our participants they pointedout some positive aspects of divorce when they were asked about it that isthere any positive aspects of divorce on them?One ofthe participant said:”There are manypositive aspects of it, we have got stronger than we were. Previously we usedto think how we are going to survive alone.*her voice shivers and she evenstopped explaining for a while). We have learned many things from our mother asshe has done so many things just to make us happy, in the beginning we weren’tfinancially strong after all this even all of my siblings left school includingme but now we are established enough it is just because that life has taught usso many things so as this separation made us stronger.
“Sothey are happy somehow as they learned so many things after this separation andthey concluded it as a positive aspect. And who wants to live in such adepressing environment the other aspect we got to listen was this “The major thing Iconsider positive is all those little fights arguments and tensions and thosetensed environment that we used to suffer every single day has ended and thisseparation made me mature earlier then my age this is really positive in nature for me atleast.”As allof them was very much close to their mothers they concluded that our mother hadsuffered a lot while having this relationship but now we are at least happythat she is free from it now. She cries now sometimes but it is a way morebetter then crying daily.Divorceannihilates lives. Even threatening divorce in front of children has enduringeffects however in some cases it gives them life time lesson. Separation isn’ta pleasant ordeal for anybody, but much can be done to intercede the harmingeffects. If parents are dedicated to the prosperity oftheir child and limit negative experiences, children can lead composed andhappy lives.
DISCUSSIONThe experiences individualswith divorced parents have faced were different from experiences of anindividual who has both parents. Theylive a life where they see one parent fulfilling responsibilities of bothsides, one parent giving them care, love, affection. Their way of portraying emotions,solving problems, schemas and seeing life is greatly influenced. The participantswere experiencing mixed emotions at the time of divorce of their parents, initiallybeing shocked over such a change was common, some of them said they could neverthink of any such thing others said they were witnessing conflicts betweentheir parents from a long time but getting divorced and being separated fromone parent was something they could never think of, but after divorce they gotadjusted to the current life they were given ,hardships were there but they allcompromised to the new life some of them happily and others had no choice sothey accepted the fate and learnt to adjust with it. Giving negativeattributes to oneself, life and future in the initial stages of post-divorcephenomenon was observed and noted it could be because when such tragic thinghappens to an individual where one hasto lose one of the two most important people one`s life attributing the surroundings and people for quite a long time posttrauma is obvious because for them their whole world has been turned upsidedown, in most cases with the passage oftime and with new experiences most of them started attributing life as positivebut for others idea of life and future is same but they have learnt how to livewith it.
All participants havehad trust issues at one point in their lives, either they were havingdifficulty in trusting people overall orin trusting an individual of opposite gender in a romantic way and why not whenthe two people an individual put his/her most trust on is not with them or hasbroken the trust for them once, individuals find it difficult to trust anyonefrom outside of their small world, for some these trust issues were resolvedwhen they grew up and met new people, good social interactions played a role inchanging ones beliefs about humans other than their siblings and mother but forothers the struggle to learn how to trust others is still there. In terms of parent childrelationships, the present study found that there is a significant relationshipbetween parental divorce and the regard children have for their parents. Thosewho experienced parental divorce were more likely to have lower parentalregard. This finding provides support for previous research. Generally, in theevent of a divorce, the relationship between the child and the parents isadversely affected. It is unknown exactly why this damage to the parent childrelationship occurs; however, one explanation may be that the damagedrelationship is mainly a result of the level of trauma the child experiencesbefore or after the divorce.
This lack of parental regard and quality of relationshipbetween parent and offspring has additional negative implications (William Roper). The study showed maternal attachment has highlighted aspect,participants were more attached to their mothers then fathers, because most ofthem were living with their mothers and they have seen their mothers strugglingand suffering more than their fathers,all four participants blamed their father for divorce and not mothers naturalbiasness towards mothers could be reason to explain the phenomenon becausegenerally if any such thing happens kids usually take mothers side and blamefathers easily, but here the parent you live more with, you are more attachedwith, living every moment, sharing every part of their life, seeing that oneparent which here is mother being there for them every time and getting affection of both parents from themother only, all these factors contribute in maternal attachment. Most importantly participantsmentioned some positive aspects of divorce such as their parents are happier ascompared to before, their mothers are suffering less than before or notsuffering at all and living with a single parent has made them stronger, more independentand have made them learn how to face difficulties in life.
There are obviousreasons why divorce may be a positive decision, such as, leaving an abusiverelationship, infidelity, and severe addictions. However, there are also otherpositive outcomes for some divorced families that are less noticeable such as,economic success, increased confidence, and learning how to become moreindependent (Amato, 1991).LimitationsThe limitations wefaced during the study were majorly associated with collection of data becausedivorce or separation is an extremely sensitive topic so the participants werenot able to give deep and complete description of phenomenon.
Shortage of timewas also a limitation as it didn’t allow us to have a full-fledged knowledge ofexperiences people faced. Another limitation is generalizability, the data was collectedfrom students of a single university and the data was more of subjective innature and one individual’s experiences might not be same as some other individual’sexperiences facing same phenomenon as divorce. Recommendations Although themethodology we chose was best to study this phenomenon but another methodologycould be i.e.
, Case Study, where focus will be on one individual’s life andthat individual’s experiences and how the phenomenon has played role in his/herachievements or failures throughout life. These findings could be useful forindividuals whose parents have been divorced and are having difficultyadjusting with it to learn how to cope up with such situations, for the parentswho are undergoing or thinking to take any step in the same context to considertheir children more and for educationists, counsellors and psychologists inorder to develop intervention strategies.ConclusionExperiences ofindividuals having divorced parents vary from being vulnerable to being strongand stubborn enough to face such a phenomenon, individuals who have hadexperienced such phenomenon of parents separation see life from a completelydifferent perspective. The cliché about divorce is that it holds negativeaspects only but divorce can be seen as positive step too when it becomes hardfor two people to live together and living under the same roof with a personcauses harm to one’s mental health then divorce might be considered positivephenomenon.