How Divorce Affects the Personality of Latino Children Term Paper

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divorce affects the personality of Latino children

Family normally indicates to a group of persons directly associated with kinship, wherein the adult members are liable for the care of their children. The kinship involves genetic ties or ties coming out of marriage. Marriage is considered to be a sexual union between two adults, socially recognized and approved. Marriage and therefore the family in western societies are related to monogamy. A major change has emerged in the common structure of family life during the post-war periods. A high proportion of women participated in the paid labor force, which has a direct impact on growth of divorce and considerable numbers of children are forced to reside either in single parent households or with stepfamilies. Cohabitation has progressively become normal in many of the industrial nations. Many other forms of social and sexual relationship are about to flourish in the future. Still marriage and the family continue to be firmly established institution. The functionalist perspective on the family concentrates on two significant tasks that gives rise to the basic necessities of the society and assists in perpetuating the social order. (Chapter 15: the Family and Intimate Relationships)

According to Talcott Parson the family undertakes two significant functions- primary socialization and personality stabilization. The primary socialization stresses on the process that emphasizes on the cultural norms of the society in which they are born. The personality stabilization indicates the part played by the family in helping the adult members emotionally. The structural changes occurred during the post war periods in the family life reveals that there is persistent growth of average age at marriage. This is due to the fact of cohabitation by increasing number of young people. Besides the post-secondary school enrollments particularly among the women are increasing and more and more women are participating in the labor force declining the necessity to find out a male breadwinner in the home. Moreover, the modernization and persistent change in attitudes during a long period of time foster individualism and make marriage less significant than it once was acknowledged.

The Latino families include major Hispanic subgroups like Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Cubans. The Mexican-American families are signified by multigenerational households and prevalence of high birth rate. It is evident that more than half of the women in Mexican-American families are involved in the labor workforce. The percentage of children born to unmarried mothers is largest in case of Puerto Rican families than any other Hispanic group only next to African-Americans. Among all the Hispanic groups the Cuban-American families are considered to be the most prosperous however, not as prosperous as whites. The inheritance of family business constitutes much of wealth in Cuban-American societies. The Cuban-Americans have comparatively a low level of fertility than that of the non-Hispanic whites and have equal low levels of non-marital fertility. The no-fault divorce laws as pointed out by Weitzman have far-reaching negative consequences for the economic position of women. It is seen that standards of living of the divorced women and their children normally falls by 27% in the first year following the divorce settlement. There is a hike in the average standard of living of divorced men by 10%. (Chapter 15: the Family and Intimate Relationships)

Several factors contributed to the growth of divorce rate over the past decades. The amendments in the law have made the divorce process easier. Marriage has little related to the fact of inheritance of property and status from generation to generations, except for the wealthier class. On the other hand the economic independence of women resulted in less reliance on marriage for economic necessity. Moreover, in present days only a little stigma is attached to divorce. More and more the marriage is assessed taking into consideration the amount personal satisfaction that it entails. Since the increasing number of people living in premarital cohabitation that gives rise to divorce rate. The marriage breakup is almost always emotionally stressful and may generate financial hardship, particularly for women. The divorce has far-reaching impact emotionally, economically and socially particularly for women. As Vaughan pointed out prior to actual physical separation, a social separation in the family normally occurred that implies maintaining secret from the others. Almost all children experience some serious emotional depression consequently upon the separation of their parents. A minority of the children experience some secular problems out of separation that last up to their adulthood. Most of the children take resort to normal development without serious problems amidst a couple of years of separation. (Chapter 15: the Family and Intimate Relationships)

The studies reveal overwhelmingly that children do not support the decisions of their parents to divorce. Most of the children respond immediately to divorce with anger, depression, anxiety, and low grades in school. In many cases the children are capable of adjusting to the divorce of their parents during the first five years, however, about one third of the children go on with manifestation of emotional and behavioral problems for a longer period of time. The factors influencing successful adjustments in such cases include, the age of the child when the divorce of the parents takes place, the birth and sex order of the child, depends on the number of siblings, the child has, the psychological conditions of the custodial parent, the opportunity for link with the non-custodial parent, the opportunity for contact with the non-custodial parent, the ability of the parents to cooperate and co-ordinate with each other in parenting of the child or children, economic elements and the pre-divorce levels of adjustment of the child. In this respect the younger children appear to be more susceptible. (Child Psychology Lesson 1: Issues in Child Development)

The problem with boys has been observed to be more acute in comparison to that of the girls. Some girls foster relationship disorders when they develop into teenagers and young adults. The sufferings in case of the only child are more. The failure of the custodial parent to adjust to the divorce negatively influences the adjustment capability of the child. The children those have positive links with the non-custodial parent perform better than the children who are not able to do so. It is evident that the more the cooperation of the parents that can work together in the interest of the child, the more successful the adjustment of the child. The legal custody fights aggravate such dimension. While the income of the custodial parents is widely inferior to the pre-divorce financial situation, the adjustment of the child is more problematic. The child who had emotional or behavioral problems before the divorce will normally have higher difficulties to adjust to the divorce rather than of the well-adjusted child.

A report generated by the Stepfamily Association of America reports that about 76.1% of the children resided with two biological parents, 10.3% lived along with a biological mother and that of a step father, 0.6% resided with a biological father and that of a step mother, 9.8% lived with a combination of stepmother-stepfather household, 1.4% lived with 2 adoptive parents and 1.3% lived with a biological parent and that of an adoptive parent. There is also clear evidence of change in the demographics of ethnicity in United States. In California the minority people have become majority presently and when the present birth rates and legal and illegal immigrations to the U.S. go on at the same rate as they have during the last two decades, minority people are anticipated to become majority in the United States within 25 years. Presently the largest ethnic minority is Latino-American the second being African-Americans, and followed by Asian-Americans, Middle East Americans and Indigenous Americans. It is quite clear from the above data that there is a great change in respect of Family size, family type and family life style. There has become greater diversity among American families. The strengths and challenges of families in the present day are quite different from those that prevailed prior to a generation. (Child Psychology Lesson 1: Issues in Child Development)

There are innumerable studies on inter-parental conflicts and their impact on the behavioral and emotional adjustment of children in both non-divorced and divorced families. The inter-parental conflict is related to both exogenous disorders like aggression and conduct disorders and endogenous difficulties like that of depression and anxiety which are found among children and adolescents. However a few studies concentrate on such effects specifically, in respect of any ethnic minority group such as Latinos. The Latinos prevail to be a large and increasing ethnic group in United States and about two thirds of Latinos consists of Mexican-Americans. A study on 'Inter-parental conflict and risk behaviors among Mexican-American adolescents: a cognitive-emotional model' conducted by Jeanne M. Tschann et al., appeared in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in its August, 2002 issue examined the impact of the inter-parental conflict on Mexican-American adolescents and also to assess the relations between inter-parental conflict and health risk behaviors among these adolescents. (Tschann; Flores, et. Al, 2002)

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