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Hawks Talk Family Dynamics

The U.S. divorce rate dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years, according to TIME magazine in a 2016 article.

Despite the news that divorce rates are dropping, it doesn’t negate the fact that a lot of millennials are products of divorce, or are part of families with step siblings or half siblings. The editors of The Outlook come from many different backgrounds, and agree that family structure has an incredible impact on the way people grow up and see the world.

“Today, our picture of divorce is much more complicated — it’s one that changes based on your education level, income, location, and a whole bunch of other factors. Plus, of course, your decision to divorce (and get married in the first place) is an incredibly complex and personal one.” Sarah Jacoby, a writer for Refinery29 stated.

One editor offered that it’s almost normal today to come from a divorced family. “My point isn’t avoiding divorce, it’s examining the affects. I understand that divorce and mixed families aren’t a new idea to American culture.”

“I am addressing that it has been so normalized that those whom are internally struggling with it may not even be aware that it’s the reason why,” the editor said.

“It’s weird to me, because, when you think about it, we are the first generation that comes from separated parents and mixed families in this widespread, high-percentage degree, but it is hardly talked about,” the editor continued. 

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health, which also is good for their child(ren).

“Growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems,” their website states. “However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.”

There is fine line when it comes separating what is popular and what is normal.

One editor said, “I don’t think divorce has become a ‘norm.’ However, I do think it has become less offensive. I believe a lot of people underestimate the severity of a divorce, in particular, the effects that it has on children. Divorce really changes the dynamic of the family.”

Another editor agreed, “I think a lot of the stigma has been removed over time, but it’s not necessarily a norm. I think people are still conscious of the effects it has on children and family members, which is what really keeps it from being more of a normal thing”

One editor disagreed, and believes that, “Divorce has become more of a norm in today’s society where years ago no matter the situation, it was considered a taboo to split and get a divorce.

“However, I do not agree that it disregards or takes away the serious effects it can have on mental health of children and teens. No matter how normal divorce is or how old the children, it can take a huge toll and that is something that absolutely cannot be overlooked,” the editor continued.

 “I think children have behavioral issues if their parents get divorced when they are young, they don’t know how to emotionally deal with it,” an editor menioned.

“I also think it is because when a child’s parents get divorced, a lot of time they will be spoiled as an aftermath because they don’t want them to be upset;  it could be because when two people get divorced, they could go the other direction and forget about the children and just focus on making themselves okay.”

Another editor said, “These kids will have two sets of holidays, two birthday parties, and two bedrooms. I think it also reveals a humanity in your parents that you don’t recognize until you’re older. When we’re young, we look at our parents as they superhuman beings, and realizing that the two people you look up to the most in the world, your parents can’t make it work and have to call it quits, then who can?”

For such a prominent issue, the resources seem scarce, according to an editor. “There needs to be a way to better pave this without having to google search article after article about the affects college students face as adults after being a child from a divorced family— because frankly, I bet a lot of you don’t even know what symptoms you obtain after being exposed to such environments.”

Continuing on about this, another editor mentioned,  “Of course there is the suicide hotline, 1-800-273-8255, and they are there to help with suicidal tendencies or thoughts relating to any particular issue. I have personally never seen a hotline or resource meant specifically for divorce situations.”

After analyzing this topic deeply, it leaves some editors wondering what divorce and marriage will be like for the future.

“I think many people will decide not to marry and instead have ‘partners’, this will reduce divorce rates, but the sample pool of marriages to draw from will also decrease,” one editor predicted.

On a more personal end of the spectrum, an editor stated, “I know I will take more caution in getting married. However, I know there will always be couples that grow and do not work well together anymore, and it is not particularly anyone’s fault but it is better that it is less taboo to divorce and be happier alone, than be miserable and stuck together.”