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Are Children Really Affected by Divorce?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

In 2003 an article published in USA Today reported that there were two growing but conflicting bodies of research that dealt with the reactions of children to their parents’ divorce. Judith Wallerstein, a psychologist and author, asserts that kids who come from divorced homes "lack role models for a healthy marriage," and that the majority grew up in homes where the parents stayed angry. Wallerstein, and those on her side of the debate argue that children from divorced households "entered adulthood as worried, underachieving, self-deprecating, and sometimes angry." She asserts that stepfamilies aren’t necessary good either, and can lead to bonding issues later in life, and that children with divorced parents experience greater levels of substance abuse and earlier sexual experiences.  

On the other side of the fence is developmental psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington, who recognizes the challenges of raising kids in divorced households but argues that the negative effects of divorce "are exaggerated while the positive effects are ignored." She cites the fact that 70 percent of adult children of divorce "say divorce is an acceptable solution to an unhappy marriage, even with children." Forty percent of adults from non-divorced families agree. It’s worse for kids with unhappy parents to stay caught in the middle of arguments and negativity than to have a happy, albeit "broken" home to grow up in.

The debate is still raging nearly a decade later—the Huffington Post has recently published a series of articles about divorce and how it affected grown children later in their lives. The consensus seems to be that if the marriage is particularly nasty, it very well could be better for children to split. The important tip is that parents should be open, willing to discuss, and able to recognize that children are an integral part of a family, even when it falls apart.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, figuring out how to tell the kids is only the beginning. Don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today.

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