and their children. They should take advantage of organizations (religious leaders and community support groups) that can helplessen the shock of divorce both before and after it happens.In speaking of the effects of divorce, let's focus now on the children. Each year, over 1 million American children gothrough the divorce of their parents; also, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parentsdivorce before they turn 18 (U.S. Census, 1992). Despite a general finding across many studies about negative effects onchildren due to divorce, there are important qualifications of these findings. Overall, the children are more alike than different.Dr. Paul Amato reminds us that average differences do not mean that all children in divorced families are worse off than allchildren in intact families. However, there are effects on many children from divorced families who have significant problems(1997, p.37).A Factor that plays a huge part in a child's adjustment and management with divorce is the amount of parental conflictin their parent's marriage. Children, who come from homes where parental conflict is high, are not worse off nor not better off on the average. Compare them to children who come from homes where parental conflict is low and their parents divorce. Thechildren from low conflict homes have a much harder time coping and dealing with the breakup. Studies show that children whocome from divorced homes are at a disadvantage from the beginning because they are always compared children whose parentsare married. (Hansen 1999, p. 1)In some cases, divorce can cause serious mental and emotional distress in children. In fact, a study done by Paul Amatoand Bruce Keith shows that children of divorced parents, compared with those living with married parents, scored lower onmeasures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, social relations, self concept, and the quality of mother-child and father-child relationships. These children also scored significantly lower on measures of cognitive ability, socialability, behavioral problems and attachment security (1991, p.4). Children from divorced homes often suffer from low self-esteem, low sense of well-being, and a very low sense of self-concept. Social researcher, Carolyn B. Murray, had this to say about the effects of divorce on children: I caught glimpses of along-term effect in my research that followed the children into late adolescence and early adulthood, but it's not until now--when the children are fully grown--that I can finally see the whole picture. Divorce is a life-transforming experience. After divorce, childhood is different. Adolescence is different. In my research, children from divorced homes, tended to have poor student outcomes (i.e., lower academic performance, weaker self esteem, and increased behavioral problems), depression,anxiety, and social detachment even before divorce occurs. Specifically, adolescents from pre-disrupted families have poorer performance in every area of well-being (2000, pp. 475-490).It is apparent that a large number of children who come through the experience of divorce later become capable andstable adults, but it is also becoming more and more evident that many children of divorce are at threat for developing damaging behaviors, personality disorders, and disruptive lifestyles.Increasing evidence in social science journals makes obvious that the devastating physical and emotional effects that divorce ishaving on children will last well into their adulthood. Along with these damaging effects are the following according to socialscientists for the Heritage Foundation of Family, Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector:• Children whose parents have divorced are increasingly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health, behavioral, andemotional problems; are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse; and have higher rates of suicide.• Children of divorced parents perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They are also more likely to repeat a gradeand to have higher drop-out rates and lower rates of college graduation.• Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percentof the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.• Religious worship, which has been linked to better health, longer marriages, and better family life drops after the parentsdivorce.• The divorce of parents, even if it is amicable, tears apart the fundamental unit of American society. Today, according to theFederal Reserve Board's 1995 Survey of Consumer Finance, only 42 percent of children aged 14-18 live in a "first marriage"family—an intact two-parent family. "It should be no surprise to find that divorce is having such effects on society."(www.heritage.org/fagandivorce).Recent research shows that a majority of children from a divorced family do not display the problems we just talkedabout openly, and these problems cannot be outwardly noticed or measured. Sometimes children can suffer emotional problemsthat go unnoticed because of the lack of display (Lauman-Billings and Emery 2000, pp. 680-687).