Why do Families Divorce & How Do We Remedy This? (by Troy Benton)

Research Collection Based on the Research Question: Why do families divorce, and what can we do to remedy the problem?

Amato, Paul. “People’s Reasons for Divorcing: Gender, Social Class, the Life Course, and Adjustment”, 2003. Sage Publications. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Summary: Paul Amato explains many of the reported reasons for divorce from throughout our country. He shares both stories and research graphs and data to show why the same reasons are given again and again.

Commentary: This piece could be the most important to my essay because this is where most of my statistics come from. Paul tells me many weird and obscure things about divorce, allowing me multiple ways to approach the writing in my essay.

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Bryan. “Writing Academic Essay On Divorce Rates In The World”, August 3rd, 2012. NP. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Summary: Bryan quickly discusses the major reasons for people divorcing, as well as the problems it creates, and then goes on to explain how he thinks to best write a divorce essay. In the beginning, he touches on the negative effects from a divorce on children, notably psychological, social, and grades in school.

Commentary: Bryan’s piece actually isn’t really a large importance to my essay, because it doesn’t give very much that the other sources give. It didn’t help me write my essay and really just enlightened me what a “expert” has to say on the matter of divorce.

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Familyfacts.org. “A Wise Investment: Benefits from Families Spending Time Together”, 2012. The Heritage Foundation. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Summary: This piece focuses on the benefits from spending time together as a family. The benefits it lists includes: Spending time during “family leisure” activities, benefits from being more involved in religious activities together, communicating between parents and children, and a large amount of benefits for teens from family activities.

Commentary: This helped me discover some ways that help improve family cohesiveness. Although not the best on why these things helped children, a lot can be said for themselves, providing good starting lines and main points in my paper.

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Gibbs, Nancy. “The Magic of the Family Meal.” Time 4 June 2006: 1-4. Online.

Summary: Nancy Gibbs covers the benefits from eating together, why the tradition is dying, and quite a bit of history concerning the family meal. She also discussed both the good and the bad of eating at home, making your own food, and getting a fast-food burger, as well as a few minor others. Sparingly throughout her piece, she shares many of her ideals and thoughts on the family meal time.

Commentary: This was useful to me because it helped back up my previous information on the family meal, as well as providing me a new tool to use in my essay: History. Although I didn’t use that tool a whole lot, it gave me a new way I could spin the second part of my essay and gave me more of an option to do what I wanted to do. Another reason why this piece is important is because I could use her opinions, thoughts and ideals to support my own thoughts and ideas. When I didn’t get the facts that I needed to support my essay, I got the opinions, which really helped me balance and shape the second part of my essay.

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Glembocki, Vicki. “Do Kids Cause Divorce?” Philadelphia  10 Aug. 2010: 1-5. Online.

Summary: Vicki Glembocki shares 4 stories in her writing, all of them centered on couples divorcing from each other. She also shares quotes and opinions from the people she interviewed, and their thoughts on why people divorce. During the stories, she briefly discusses the negative effects from divorces on children.

Commentary: I used this piece primarily for the stories and in-detail explanation of specific events that happened prior to the divorce. It also shared with me some of the inner thoughts of people in the beginning/middle/end of their divorce.

Putting Family First. “Overscheduled Kids, Underconnected Families: The Research Evidence”, ND. NP. Monday, November 19, 2012.

Summary: It discussed the many benefits from spending time with your family, both for children and parents. It also listed why these things helped build a stronger relationship. Many of the main points were about teens and/or drug/alcohol use, and how spending time with those people lowered those chances.

Commentary: This piece is really important because it provided the why aspect of my essay. It also supported my paragraphs/ideas about teens. It also helped me build parts of my essay, and gave me key points to discuss over its course.

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Public Writing 

“Broken Families”

In todays’ superfast paced world, more and more families are left unhappy with their relationships. Divorce is on the raise, drugs and alcohol interfere with happy marriages, and children just into their 3’s are receiving negative signals from a mother and father who avoid each other. Why are these things happening, and what can we, as an individual and people, do to solve them? By looking at the causes of this unhappiness, it becomes easier to see the best way to solve them.

The top most reported cause of divorce appears to be infidelity, with women reporting it 10% more than men, with a close second, being incompatibility. After these two, the list continues with alcohol and drug usage, growing apart and less time spent with each other, personality issues, and simply a lack of communication between both parties[1]. And most of the above problems all sprout into being because of choosing the wrong partner for marriage. The most likely cause of successful marriages is that the couple likes to spend a large amount of their time with each other. But sadly, that time between couples is decreasing rapidly of late, contributing much to the “growing apart” and “incompatibility” issues. It would seem like a simple problem to recognize which person you want to spend a large amount of your life with, compared to a few months, but for a lot of people (especially late teens), truly have a hard time discerning the difference between their partner and a “Oh my gosh, where did he come from?” feeling. But when a divorce happens, who are really getting hurt from the process? Is it the bitter, unhappy couple getting the divorce? Studies show that this is unlikely, because couples getting a divorce usually see it as something good, something beneficial. No, the people who are really getting hurt are the children of these couples.

It is truly sad that children from couples get wounded so much from divorces. Not only does their mental and physical health falter because of their parents’ divorce, but their schoolwork, happiness, and success also dwindle down. And these aren’t the only atrocious things that happen; once children turn into teenagers, and begin their trek to emerge as adults, worse things can happen: Smoking, drinking, drug use, and considering suicide have increased happenings when in broken and/or distant families. And just to top the cake, teens who feel disconnected from their family have reported that they feel like their parents aren’t proud of them, leading back to many of the above problems (primarily mental health, self-value, and success). But what our children in America need to know, is how to avoid these life-altering negatives.

The family meal time is something small, something neglected today. But it is also something wondrous. By simply eating family meals together, it becomes “the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems” in children (Putting Family First[2]). Besides from achieving more and having fewer behavior problems, this “family meal time” has proven to reduce teenagers desire to drink, use drugs, and can eliminate early sexual behavior. Another benefit from eating dinner together as a family is nutritional and physical health. Multiple studies have shown that when families have dinner together often, the quality of the food is increased greatly, moving away from fast-food and processed foods and drinks, and into a predominantly vegetable and fruit meal.

Family meals have been an important bonding time throughout the human species, beginning to current state. The dinner call has been, for millions of homes, a herald for a good time, together with the people who care about you. Talking, joking, and laughing have all been proven to bring people together, no matter the differences or dislikes between them, and these three things happen most commonly at the table. About 20% of surveyed teenagers from around America report that they’re primary concern is that they were not spending enough time with their parents and family members[3]. They also say that they would like to spend more time eating with their family, but that their family doesn’t appear to want to eat and converse with them. Married couples also benefit greatly from eating together. Spouses report that by eating together and spending time together, it’s like they can “renew their love and affection for each other” each and every day.[4] And, what’s even better, is that by eating meals together more often, the experience of the meal, (as well as all the benefits that go along with it,) increases significantly, becoming much more talkative and enjoyable by all members involved.

Because Americans are not happy in their relationships right now, does not mean that anyone else, especially our dear children, cannot achieve a good relationship and a happy life. With the flood of new information coming, and with age-old traditions coming back into focus, we as a people could easily change our course and completely change the future into a better place for our children. We have the power to change anything in the world; start by switching perspectives and changing views into ideas and actions that will help and make our world flourish.

Works Cited:

Amato, Paul. “People’s Reasons for Divorcing: Gender, Social Class, the Life Course, and Adjustment”, 2003. Sage Publications. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Bryan. “Writing Academic Essay On Divorce Rates In The World”, August 3rd, 2012. NP. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Familyfacts.org. “A Wise Investment: Benefits from Families Spending Time Together”, 2012. The Heritage Foundation. Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

Gibbs, Nancy. “The Magic of the Family Meal.” Time 4 June 2006: 1-4. Online.

Glembocki, Vicki. “Do Kids Cause Divorce?” Philadelphia  10 Aug. 2010: 1-5. Online.

Putting Family First. “Overscheduled Kids, Underconnected Families: The Research Evidence”, ND. NP. Monday, November 19, 2012.


[1] Paul R. Amato, “People’s Reasons for Divorcing:

Gender, Social Class, the Life Course, and Adjustment”.

[2] Putting Family First, “Overschuduled Kids, UNDERCONNECTED Families: The Research Evidence”.

[3] Putting Family First, “OVERSCHEDULED KIDS, UNDERCONNECTED FAMILIES: THE RESEARCH EVIDENCE”.

[4] Nancy Gibbs, “The Magic of the Family Meal”.

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2 comments

  1. Hannah Niebel

    Troy,
    You did a great job of collecting a wide variety of articles to review for your research collection—some with statistics and some with stories to help round out the research. I think focusing on the children of divorce and how it affects their lives is a very relevant research question. I have a lot of friends who are divorced with kids and it is so sad to see how it has affected their school, perspective on life, etc.

    Your public writing is excellent! I really liked your focus on the importance of family meals. Family meals are a big thing in my family and I do think it has helped our family stay close over the years. There is something special about talking and sharing over the dinner table. I think suggesting that families eat together is a great thing to do. I enjoyed reading both your research and public writing! Good job!
    Hannah

  2. Michelle

    Hi Troy!!
    I too think you did a great job at collaborating your resources to support your question. I am a child from a home where my parents were married (and still are!!) and we had meals together every day! It is very important to find quality time with families to sit around and have the opportunity to talk about life and what is going on in your children’s lives. In my life right now, I am struggling with the fact that I am a divorced person with a child. Since I didn’t grow up having a divorced family, it is really hard for me to try to relate to my child about how being a divorced parent will affect her. I think about it every day and try to make positive changes to avoid the rebellious state that children tend to go through when their parents divorce. All of the issues that your brought up in your paper were spot on and I think about it every day. I don’t want my child to become something just because of the decision that I made. I do know that I never show any negative signs about the divorce and really make her my priority and my life.

    Good Job!

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