Effects of removing a father  to the position of visitor in a child's life - 12/00
Tim Randles
s
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"In summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a marked
decrease in their academic performance following parental separation, and
this was evident three years later. Access to both parents seemed to be the
most protective factor, in that it was associated with better academic
adjustment... Moreover, data revealed that noncustodial parents (mostly
fathers) were very influential in their children's development... These data
also support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the
noncustodial parent the better the overall adjustment of the
child."

Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children Following Parental
Separation, L. Bisnaire, PhD; P. Firestone, PhD; D. Rynard, MA Sc American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990

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"While in most instances adolescents from recently disrupted household were
more negatively affected by their parents' divorce, some findings did
identify long-term effects of earlier disruption. Adolescent girls who had
experienced parental divorce when they were younger than six or between six
and nine years old reported becoming involved with alcohol or drugs in
proportions higher than did girls from intact families. Adolescent girls
whose experience of divorce occurred before they were six more frequently
reported skipping school than did girls from intact families or girls whose
parents divorced when they were between the ages of six and nine."

"These findings underscore the vulnerability of adolescents whose parents
have divorced within the last five years. The impact of the marital
disruption was most pronounced among girls, who skipped school more
frequently, reported more depressive behavior, and described social support
in more negative terms than did boys from recently disrupted homes."

The Effects of Marital Disruption on Adolescents: Time as a Dynamic A.
Frost, PhD; B. Pakiz, EdM, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(4),
October, 1990

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"Among teenage and adult populations of females, parental divorce has been
associated with lower self-esteem, precocious sexual activity, greater
delinquent-like behavior, and more difficulty establishing gratifying,
lasting adult heterosexual relationships. It is especially intriguing to
note that, in these studies, the parental divorce typically occurred years
before any difficulties were observed..

"At the time of the marital separation, when (as is typical) father leaves
[is evicted/forced from] the family home and becomes progressively less
involved with his children over the ensuing years, it appears that young
girls experience the emotional loss of father egocentrically as a rejection
of them. While more common among preschool and early elementary school
girls, we have observed this phenomenon clinically in later elementary
school and young adolescent children. Here the continued lack of involvement
is experienced as an ongoing rejection by him. Many girls attribute this
rejection to their not being pretty enough, affectionate enough, athletic
enough, or smart enough to please father and engage him in regular, frequent
contacts".

"Finally, girls whose parents divorce may grow up without the day-to-day
experience of interacting with a man who is attentive, caring and loving.
The continuous sense of being valued and loved as a female seems an
especially key element in the development of the conviction that one is
indeed femininely lovable. Without this regular source of nourishment, a
girl's sense of being valued as a female does not seem to thrive."

Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Developmental Vulnerability
Model Neil Kalter, Ph.D., University of Michigan, American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry, 57(4), October, 1987

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"Based on our clinical experience with a number of latency aged and
adolescent girls whose parents divorced during their oedipal years, we
postulate that particular coping patterns emerge in response to the absence
of the father, which may complicate the consolidation of positive feminine
identification in many female children, and is observable during the latency
years. We illustrate both the existence of these phenomena and implications
for treatment:

- intensified separation anxiety;

- denial and avoidance of feelings associated with loss of father;

- identification with the lost object; and

- object hunger for males."

"In an earlier study by Kalter and Rembar at [Children's Psychiatric
Hospital, University of Michigan], a sample of 144 child and adolescent
patients, whose parents had divorced, presented [for evaluation and
treatment] with three most commonly occurring problems:

- 63% Subjective psychological problem (defined as anxiety, sadness,
pronounced moodiness, phobias, and depression)

- 56% Poor grades or grades substantially below ability and/or recent past
performance

- 43% Aggression toward parents

- Important features of the subgroup of 32 latency aged girls were in the
same order:

- 69% indicating subjective psychological distress, 47% academic problems, 41% aggression toward parents.

Clinical Observations on Interferences of Early Father Absence in the
Achievement of Femininity by R. Lohr, C. g, A. Mendell and B. Riemer,
Clinical Social Work Journal, V. 17, #4, Winter, 1989

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"...when the non-custodial parent is perceived as "lost," the young adult is
more depressed. When a divorce occurs, the perception of the non-custodial
father has been shown to change in a negative direction, while the
perception of the mother remains relatively stable. "

"Because divorce is a process, not an isolated event, the effects of the
divorce may be cumulative and early intervention would therefore be
beneficial.

"The continued involvement of the non-custodial parent in the child's life
appears crucial in preventing an intense sense of loss in the child... The
importance of the relationship with the non-custodial parent may also have
implications for the legal issues of custodial arrangements and visitation.
The results of this study indicate that arrangements where both parents are
equally involved with the child are optimal. When this type of arrangement
is not possible, the child's continued relationship with the non-custodial
parent remains essential."

Young Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Depression and the Perception of
Loss, Rebecca L. Drill, Ph.D., Harvard University. Journal of Divorce, V.
10, #1/2, Fall/Winter 1986

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"The impact of parental divorce and subsequent father absence in the wake of
this event has long been thought to affect children quite negatively. For
instance, parental divorce and father loss has been associated with
difficulties in school adjustment (e.g. Felner, Ginter, Boike, & Cowen),
Social Adjustment (e.g. Fry & Grover) and personal adjustment (e.g. Covell &
Turnbull)..."

"The results of the present study suggest that father loss through divorce
is associated with diminished self-concepts in children... at least for this
sample of children from the midwestern United States."

Children's Self Concepts: Are They Affected by Parental Divorce and
Remarriage Thomas S. Parish, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality,
1987, V 2, #4, 559-562

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"It is ironic, and of some interest, that we have subjected joint custody to
a level and intensity of scrutiny that was never directed toward the
traditional post-divorce arrangement (sole legal and physical custody to the
mother and two weekends each month of visiting to the father.) Developmental
and relationship theory should have alerted the mental health field to the
potential immediate and long range consequences for the child of only seeing
a parent four days each month. And yet until recently, there was no
particular challenge to this traditional post-divorce parenting arrangement,
despite growing evidence that such post-divorce relationships were not
sufficiently nurturing or stabilizing for many children and parents."

"There is some evidence that in our well-meaning efforts to save children in
the immediate post-separation period from anxiety, confusion, and the
normative divorce-engendered conflict, we have set the stage in the longer
run for the more ominous symptoms of anger, depression, and a deep sense of
loss by depriving the child of the opportunity to maintain a full
relationship with each parent."

Examining Resistance to Joint Custody, Monograph by Joan Kelly, Ph.D.
(associate of Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D) From the 1991 Book Joint Custody and
Shared Parenting, second edition, Guilford Press, 1991.
 

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