Divorce education : an alternative approach to meeting the needs of parents and children
This exploratory study was written with the intent to inform educators of the impact that divorce may have on children, of possible factors contributing to the resiliency in children of divorce, and of possible intervention efforts on the part of educators. An extensive literature review presented various perspectives from researchers, authors, and theorists. Developmental theorists such as Erickson were paralleled with empirical evidence collected by researchers such as Wallerstein. Studies including a meta-analysis by Amato (2001) were presented in discussions of the possible outcomes for children of divorce. Long-term outcomes were considered from the perspective of a sociologist and a journalist. Positive parenting skills were offered by experts such as Brooks (2005). A qualitative study of the reflective experiences of adult children of divorced parents was also initiated to determine the accuracy of the literature review and to encourage further research in this area. This thesis involved a self-administered survey of eleven adult children of divorce, while analysis of the survey data utilized a modified form of Grounded Theory. Findings from the survey and the literature review demonstrated the need for relevant educational programs and professional development of educators. It also revealed that programming for parents should include significant elements of motivational and transfer-of-learning techniques, and that programs promoting positive reflective thought are needed for adults emerging from childhood divorce experiences. The descriptions of emotions and behaviours disclosed by the participants of the survey were compelling and direct, offering convincing insight into the impact of parental divorce. Participants indicated that parents, and other significant individuals, did not understand what they were feeling. Most participants could recall individuals or groups that did intervene positively in their lives; one mention was made of teacher concern about possible depression. The participants offered insight into positive and negative parental behaviours, and their reflective discussions suggested that one significant outcome of parental divorce was the impact it had on the parent/child relationship, as well as the suggestion that a difficult transition into adult relationships was often a result of this experience. Although significant research has been accomplished on the short-term impact on child development, investigation into the long-term outcomes of parental divorce has received minimal attention, possibly making it difficult for educators to have concrete data to draw upon. The research strongly suggested that there may be a population of individuals that could benefit from educational programs that focus upon their experience as children of divorce. It is my conclusion that an appropriate educational context of constructive reflection and support can contribute positively to the well-being and quality of life for children of divorce.
DegreeMaster of Continuing Education (M.C.Ed.)
SupervisorWong, Angelina; Janes, Diane
Copyright DateMarch 2007
resiliency in children
emotional outcomes of parental divorce
meeting needs of children
children of divorce
parenting after separation
intervention for children of divorce
adult children of divorce
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