Gender differences in the effects of divorce Essay
Gender differences in the effects of divorce
Besides behaviour differences among children of divorced and intact families, there are also gender differences to consider. Hyatt suggests that boys and girls react differently to parental divorce. Boys tend to create more behavioural problems in school than girls do. Boys’ self-esteem tends to decline as a result of divorce and they seek constant attention from the teacher and disturb class with irrelevant talks. Their effort in school work also decline. Hyatt mentions that boys are more prone to difficulty of losing contact to their father hence regular communication with the father can help these adjustment problems.
Girls’ behaviour in school after parental divorce is not as noticeable as boys because they do not manifest their difficulties by acting out in class. Rather, they tend to become more anxious or unhappy or showing over controlled good behaviour. Another findings concerning gender difference in the effects of divorce is that girls do accept help from their teachers unlike boys. This is because girls see their school as a place where they can be supported during divorce while boys conduct socially unacceptable behaviour.
School Behaviour of Children of Divorced Families Human beings grow by constantly adapting to new environment therefore adapting to an environment is part of life cycle. Children’s educational place can be divided into home, school and the society. The child and environment continuously interact and the school takes over large part of a child’s life. Therefore as well as having a settled family life, school period is also important in determining how children might turn out in the future.
School is a place where children enjoy, and gain sense of satisfaction by experiencing various activities and maintain harmonized relationships with the teachers and other students. Similarly, school adjustment is defines as taking interest in school environment and feel comfortable being in school with other children. This adjustment reflects on their school achievement and development. For instance, children who enjoy being in school and participate in school activities are likely to gain more educational experiences than those who have adjustment disorder.
Liebman defines school adjustment disorder as excessive reaction where individuals are unable to harmonize with the school environment and other students which will prohibit individual development. Children of divorced families are likely to have more difficulties in school adjustment than those of children from intact families. Berbe suggests that children with adjustment disorder tend to attract teacher’s attention by inappropriate questions in class, distract other children and find it hard to pay attention in class.
They also refuse teacher’s request and are often disobedient. And if they continue to show irresponsible academic behaviour, it leads to serious adjustment disorder. Heck’s idea is also similar to Berbe’s suggestion that children with adjustment disorder problems are frequently absent and tend to be oppositional in class. However, it is difficult to judge the cause of maladjustment solely on divorce. How children respond to above stress can vary from a child to child.
It can differ according to their age, gender or disposition and the environment includes economic stature of parents, social approval rating of parents and family conflict. Variables are categorized as they may affect children’s school adjustment into demographic differences and family variables. Demographic differences include race, gender, and parental socioeconomic status and family variables include relationships, organisation, control, social support, mother rejection and father rejection. Behaviour of children of divorced in school
As mentioned earlier, children from divorced families appear to have difficulty in academic achievement and relationship with other children at school than children from intact families. The cause of this should not be looked at solely on the primary factor which is divorce. Secondary factors are to be considered as well, such as the change in socioeconomic structure and resources after divorce. For example, as mentioned earlier, economic loss, poor parental adjustment, lack of parental competence and parental loss can cause behavioural problems.
As mentioned in the section of ‘Comparison between children of divorce and intact families’, women’s standard of living is reduced by 29 % after divorce and absence of father can have negative influence on children more on boys than girls. Regarding studies on children’s maladjustment behaviour, Liner categorizes disorder behaviour as: ? action-out behaviour like hitting someone and being aggressive ? withdrawing behaviour: very quiet, sucking fingers, restricted behaviour ? defensive behaviour: lying, ignoring ? disorganised behaviour: escaping from reality
Similarly, Wickman describes behaviour of children with adjustment disorder as: ? immoral, dishonest, in resistance to authority, stealer, cheater, disobedient, rude and rebellious ? often violates regulation of class, careless, loses interest in study, negligent and trustless ? exaggerated and offensive personality ? unsociable, overly sensitive, and liar Based on experience, as a teacher of young children, those from divorced families have lower academic achievement, are socially isolated, overly sensitive, either humiliate themselves or boast and show negative behaviour in class.
Specifically, their academic grade is poorer than it used to be and they do not try to socialize with others in class. Further, they often seem absent-minded and tend to change their mood easily. If they are scolded for not doing their homework or asked to answer something they do not know, they use violent language in response. They also suffer from headache and easily get tired. This behaviour of children can also be explained by Rotter’s theory of locus of control.
Locus of control refers to how individuals attribute the cause of their behaviour to internal or external forces. In applying to children of divorced families, children who have internal locus of control believe that if their parents are divorced, it is their fate. Therefore these children are able to handle any difficulties and feel less psychological distress. In contrast, children who have external locus of control believe that if they do not perform well in school, they tend to blame external factors such as parental divorce rather than blame themselves.
Hence, these children are likely to suffer from severe distress than those who have internal locus of control. When elementary school children experience parents’ divorce, they can become aggressive and develop sense fear and sorrow. Some children also imagine reunion of their parents. And they also explain that children’s school behaviour depend on how they are treated at home. As per experience, the relationship between custodial parent and the child seem to have a large impact.
Prior research says that the relationship between the behaviour of custodial parents and children’s school adjustment illustrate that the attitude of custodial parents has large influence on children’s school achievement. Mothers’ affection can influence enormously on developing children’s social skills. From mother-child relationship, children learn responsibility, self-control and social skills, hence, hostile attitude towards children can act as hindrance in developing social skills. Therefore one can learn that the attitude of custodial parent becomes important factor which influence children’s school adjustment.
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