Friday, August 13, 2010

Divorce and Children

In the past several decades, family researchers have given a great deal of attention to how divorce affects children. Although there is agreement that divorce can have many negative impacts on children, researchers have also identified qualities of what some call a “good” divorce.

Results from a recent study conducted by Elizabeth Marquardt, affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, and Norval Glenn, a sociologist at the University of Texas-Austin, have generated a great deal of media interest – and controversy. Marquardt, argues that children of divorce have to navigate the beliefs and values of two very different households after divorce, and this creates inner conflict and fundamentally restructures their childhood.

Through surveys of 1500 18-35 year olds, the researchers found that even when children experienced what might be considered a "good" divorce, one where parents cooperate in child rearing matters after divorce, they often do worse than children of unhappy low-conflict marriages. I'm a bit skeptical of this. I would think that it's better to grow up in a happy household, than an unhappy one - even a low-conflict one. But I guess it depends on the individuals involved.

In contrast, other research conducted by sociology professor Constance Ahrons at the University of Southern California, found that as young adults, children of divorce grew up to be “stronger and wiser,” and that the majority believed that their parent’s divorce had positive outcomes for their parents AND for themselves.

Many scholars agree that the best thing for children is a happy household - or households. We do know that when two parents learn to co-parent, which means working together as a team to raise their children, the benefits are long lasting for everyone.

I now offer the "Parents, Children and Divorce" parenting class, required by the State of Florida when minor children are involved. This class offers ideas for co-parenting and helping your child through the divorce. For information and to register, pleae visit my webpage:

Ahrons, Constance R., Social Work; Nov80, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p437-441, 5p 1980
Amato, Paul R., Family Relations; Oct2003, Vol. 52 Issue 4, p332-339, 8p, 5 graphs

Amato, Paul R., “The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children,” from “Families in Transition” 12th Edition (2003). Person Education, Inc., Boston, MA
Ahrons, Constance, (2004)

We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY

1 comment:

  1. Can you attend this course without a case number? Any information iis appreciated.


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