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Communication Begins with Children

A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook


Edited By Thomas J. Socha and Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

Communication Begins with Children: A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook seeks to transform the field of communication, arguing that the field must stop neglecting and segregating children and instead adopt an age-inclusive lifespan approach that fully includes and fully considers children in all communication theorizing, research, and education from infancy and throughout the human lifespan. One-size-fits-all, adult-centric communication theorizing, researching, and educating is inadequate and harms the communication field’s potential as a social force for positive change for all communicators. The volume contains four sections (Foundations, Relational Communication Development, Digital Communication Development, and Navigating Developmental Communication Challenges) that showcase state-of-the-art chapters about the history of children’s relational and digital communication studies, methods used to study children’s communication, media literacy development, communication and children’s health, and much more. A must read for all communication researchers, educators, and students and an important addition to advanced and graduate level human and digital communication courses.

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13. Lasting Impressions: Exploring Communicative Legacies of Children’s Experiences in Divorced Families: JENNA R. LAFRENIERE


Exploring Communicative Legacies of Children’s Experiences in Divorced Families


Texas Tech University

Divorce is a major event that occurs in many families today that forces families to redefine themselves and renegotiate their typical patterns of functioning with one another. Approximately 40–50% of all marriages end in divorce in the United States (American Psychological Association, 2020). Researchers have investigated predictors of divorce such as low income, low education level, stonewalling in conflict, and prior marriages (Gottman, 1994; Teachman, 2002). As the number of divorces has climbed, scholars have investigated the effects of divorce, both short- and long-term, on children within the family system (Amato, 2010; Cunningham & Skillingstead, 2015; Wallerstein, Lewis, & Blakeslee, 2000). As Schrodt and Afifi (2007) highlighted, most of this previous research has focused on the effects of the divorce itself rather than the communication following the divorce. Emery and Dillon (1994) labeled divorce “as the renegotiation of boundaries of intimacy and power in the relationships between members of the divorced family system” (p. 374). Hence, divorce inherently involves the development of new communication patterns, navigation of new concerns, and managing shifting family relationships.

Divorce not only alters family structure but forever changes how family members function in relation to one another (Amato, 2010; Wallerstein 1996; Wallerstein et al., 2000). Thus, it is imperative to understand what children experience regarding divorce communication within the family. Divorce leaves children with a multitude of unexpected legacies,...

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