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Since 1958, when there were 2.1 divorces per 1,000 population, a gradual increase in the number of divorces has occurred, peaking at 5.3 per 1,000 population in 19 (Glick & Lin, 1986), and stabilizing at 4.7 as of 1990 (US Department of Health & Human Services, 1990).According to projections based on 1990 census data, 40% of all children can expect to live in a single-parent household because of divorce before the age of 16 (Cherlin, 1992). 1; Updated December 2013 Click here to download and print a PDF version of this document.One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children.This can add to the pressure and stress a child is experiencing.Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved, and what will happen to them.
As more has been learned about children's adjustment to divorce and response to treatment, researchers have come to view it as a complex series of transitions and adaptations, rather than a simplistic, unitary event.
Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their parents.
Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, causing them additional stress.
While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security.
Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction.