The environment a child grows in plays a pivotal role in the development of their personality. It is not uncommon for people to experience the same problems in their adult life, which were apparent during their childhood. This tendency has received substantial attention from the researchers. Much literature has been published, which delves into the specifics of the damage inflicted by the dysfunctional families on their children. However, there is no single factor, which would explain why a certain child became a dysfunctional adult. Understanding the causes of problems in families is essential in a. This literature review focuses on the comparison of different factors, which determine the state of children’s mental health.
Overall, five sources are used for the determination of factors, precipitating certain emotional problems. Preceding research has studied the fact of childrens’ problems with mental health, which has necessitated further investigation of causes of their problems. The first is an article by Brian D’Onofrio and Robert Emery titled “Parental divorce or separation and children’s mental health”. It is itself an overview of academic research available on the familial issues. The main point this paper intended to make revolved around the supposition that a divorce in a family is an assured pathway for damaged psyche of children (D’Onofrio & Emery, 2019). A particularly peculiar finding of the study was that cohabitation is a form of an unstable organization of a family. Children in families, in which parents live separately or together but are not bound by marriage, are more likely to suffer from depression, communicative problems, and poor academic performance.
The second source was an article by He et al. (2021), titled “Parental conflict and social networking sites addiction in Chinese adolescents: The multiple mediating role of core self-evaluation and loneliness”. This paper is important because it accentuates a specific measurable indicator of worsening conditions in a family – addiction to children’s social networking sites. At the center of the article is the study of the results of an anonymous questionnaire of adolescents. The results of this survey indicated that parental conflict creates an atmosphere of loneliness at home, which forces children to compensate with an excessive use of social networks (He et al., 2021). Therefore, the fact of children’s addiction to virtual communication can be used as the sign of a dysfunctional family.
The third article was “Parental stress and child outcomes: the mediating role of family conflict” by Julia H. Jones, Trenton A. Call, Sarah N. Wolford, and Lenore M. McWey. The significance of this article manifests in the reliance on longitudinal multiple regression analyses, which allowed the researchers to ascertain parental conflict and family stress as direct prerequisites to children’s negative mental state. Naturally, each family has its own unique problems, which manifest in occasional depression of children. However, this research pinpointed the presence of parental conflict and family stress as indication of a risk of possible child maltreatment (Jones et al., 2021). Subsequently, the less stable a family is, the more attention should be given to the way children are treated to prevent abuse.
The fourth article “Joint versus sole physical custody: Outcomes for children independent of family income or parental conflict” was written by Linda Nielsen. Unlike other papers, which focused primarily on establishing the correlation between the familial issues and children’s negative mental state, this paper targets children who already live in separated families. Particularly, the article analyses two variants of organizing children’s communication with parents. The first is sole physical custody, where a child lives with only one parent, and the second is joint physical custody, which presupposes that a child lives with both parents. According to the findings of twenty-five studies, joint physical custody produces better child outcomes (Nielsen, 2018). Most importantly, the results are the same for separated families regardless of the family income.
The fifth article is “Parental Conflict and Problematic Internet Use in Chinese Adolescents: Testing a Moderated Mediation Model of Adolescents’ Effortful Control and Emotional Dysregulation” by Wanxue Qi. This article continues the theme of children’s addiction to virtual communication. However, whereas previous research focused exclusively on social networks, this study is broader, accentuating addiction to the Internet in general. The overall findings are the same – parental conflict leads to children’s problematic Internet use (Qi, 2019). This literature review is unique in that it provides a measurable criterion of familial dysfunction by the amount of time children spend using the Internet.
Altogether, the reviewed literature is adamant about the negative side effects of familial problems on the children. There is a consensus that divorce, separation, parental conflict are all forms of unstable living conditions. Confrontation between parents leads to their children’s anxiety, depression, and the feeling of loneliness. As a result, children seek to compensate for the lack of sufficient communication with the Internet-based activities. Particularly, children may spend excessive amount of time using social networks. Not only is such behavior indicative of familial problems, but it also highlights a higher risk of child maltreatment. Finally, the more time a child spends with parents, for instance, via joint physical custody, the better their overall mental health will be. This idea can be used as foundation for future studies, as the problem of minimizing the negative effects of living in dysfunctional families on children remains urgent and insufficiently researched.
D’Onofrio, B., & Emery, R. (2019). Parental divorce or separation and children’s mental health. World Psychiatry, 18(1), 100. Web.
He, D., Liu, Q. Q., & Shen, X. (2021). Parental conflict and social networking sites addiction in Chinese adolescents: The multiple mediating role of core self-evaluation and loneliness. Children and Youth Services Review, 120, 105774. Web.
Jones, J. H., Call, T. A., Wolford, S. N., & McWey, L. M. (2021). Parental stress and child outcomes: The mediating role of family conflict. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 30(3), 746-756. Web.
Nielsen, L. (2018). Joint versus sole physical custody: Outcomes for children independent of family income or parental conflict. Journal of Child Custody, 15(1), 35-54. Web.
Qi, W. (2019). Parental conflict and problematic Internet use in Chinese adolescents: Testing a moderated mediation model of adolescents’ effortful control and emotional dysregulation. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-20. Web.