While both girls and boys exhibit distress when their parents split up, they have different ways of showing it. Girls tend to ‘internalize’ their unhappiness: they became depressed and anxious, and many cut themselves, or use illegal substances. Boys, ‘externalize’ or ‘act out’: they became more impulsive, aggressive, and antisocial. Both reactions are troublesome, but boys’ behavior has the added disadvantage of frightening classmates, teachers, and neighbors. Boys from broken homes are more likely (than their peers from intact families) to get suspended and arrested. Girls’ unhappiness seems to ease within a year or two after their parents’ divorce; not so for the boys.
We must find effective ways to reach and restore boys from broken homes before they inflict further pain and damage to themselves and others.
Take Away: Boys from broken homes are more likely than their peers from intact families to get suspended and arrested.