101: What happens after divorce – and how it impacts children

This is the third episode in our series on parental relationships – and the lack thereof…  We started with episode 35, which was called “All Joy and No Fun,” where we learned how children can be one of the greatest joys of a parent’s life – but that all the daily chores and struggles can get on top of us and make parenting – both in terms of our relationship with our child and our spouse – something that isn’t necessarily much fun in the moment.  And if you missed that episode you might want to go back and check it out, because I walked you through a research-based idea I’ve been using to increase the amount of fun I have while I’m hanging out with my daughter, who was a toddler when I recorded that episode.

Then we took a turn for the worse in episode 36 and looked at the impact of divorce on children’s development, and we learned that it can have some negative impacts for some children, although the majority are pretty resilient and do make it through a divorce OK.  For the last episode in the long-delayed conclusion to this mini-series we’re going to take a look at what happens after divorce – things like single parenting and remarriage and stepfamilies, that can also have large impacts on children’s lives.  We’ll spend a good chunk of the show looking at things that stepfamilies can do to be more successful.

References

Braithwaite, D.O., Olson, L.N., Golish, T.D., Soukup, C., & Turman, P. (2001). “Becoming a family”: Developmental processes represented in blended family discourse. Journal of Applied Communication Research 29(3), 221-247.


Choi, J-K, & Pyun, H-S. (2014). Nonresident fathers’ financial support, informal instrumental support, mothers’ parenting, and child development in single-mother families with low income. Journal of Family Issues 35(4), 526-546. DOI: 10.1177/0192513X13478403


Coleman, M., & Ganong, L.H. (1997). Stepfamilies from the stepfamily’s perspective. Marriage & Family Review 26(1-2), 107-121.


Fine, M.A., Coleman, M., & Ganong, L.H. (1998). Consistency in perceptions of the step-parent role among step-parents, parents and stepchildren. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 15(6), 810-828.


Fine, M.A., & Kurdek, L.A. (1995). Relation between marital quality and (step)parent-child relationship quality for parents and stepparents in stepfamilies. Journal of Family Psychology 9(2), 216-223.


Furstenberg, Jr., F.F. (1988). Child care after divorce and remarriage. In E.M. Hetherington & J.D. Arasteh (Eds.), Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Ganong, L.H., Coleman, M., & Jamison, T. (2011). Patterns of stepchild – stepparent relationship development. Journal of Marriage and Family 73(2), 396-413.


Hequembourg, A. (2004). Unscripted motherhood: Lesbian mothers negotiating incompletely institutionalized family relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 21(6), 739-762. DOI: 10.1177/0265407504047834


Hetherington, E.M. (1993). An overview of the Virginia longitudinal study of divorce and remarriage with a focus on early adolescence. Journal of Family Psychology 7(1), 39056.


Jackson, A.P., & Scheines, R. (2005). Single mothers’ self-efficacy, parenting in the home environment, and children’s development in a two-wave study. Social Work Research 29(1), 7-20.


Jeyes, W.H. (2006). The impact of parental remarriage on children. Marriage & Family Review 40(4), 75-102.


Kumar, K. (2017). The blended family life cycle. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58(2), 110-125.


Livingston, G. (2014, December 22). Fewer than half of U.S. kids today live in a ‘traditional’ family. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/22/less-than-half-of-u-s-kids-today-live-in-a-traditional-family/


Livingston, G. (2014, November 14). Four-in-ten couples are saying “I Do,” again: Growing number of adults have remarried. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/11/14/four-in-ten-couples-are-saying-i-do-again/


Lucas, N., Nicholson, J.M., & Erban, B. (2013). Child mental health after parental separation: The impact of resident/nonresident parenting, parent mental health, conflict and socioeconomics. Journal of Family Studies 19(1), 53-69. DOI: 10.5172/jfs.2013.19.1.53


Maccoby, E.E., Buchanan, C.M., Mnookin, R.H., & Dornbush, S.M. (1993). Postdivorce roles of mothers and fathers in the lives of their children. Journal of Family Psychology 7(1), 24-38.


Papernow, P.L. (1993). Becoming a stepfamily: Patterns of development in remarried families. Cleveland, OH: Gestalt Press.


Papenow, P.L. (2017). Blended family. In J.L. Lebow et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2015). Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity: Timeframe: 2015. Retrieved from: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D


Twaite, J.A., Silitsky, D., & Luchow, A.K. (1988). Children of divorce: Adjustment, parental conflict, custody, remarriage, and recommendations for clinicians. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.


Weaver, S.E., & Coleman, M. (2010). Caught in the middle: Mothers in stepfamilies. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 27(3), 305-326. DOI: 10.1177/0265407510361729

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About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

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