Even “Good” Divorce Hard on Kids, New Study Confirms
By Terry Vanderheyden
NEW YORK, November 9, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new book based on a survey of 1,500 adults ages 18-35 reveals for the first time that there is no such thing as a “good divorce” and even amicable divorces have lasting negative effects on children.
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, a book by affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, Elizabeth Marquardt, contends that “rarely do we hear about the real and lasting effects divorce has on the approximately one million children whose parents divorce each year.” Her book reports on the emotional, moral, and spiritual lives of the first generation of young people to grow up in an era of widespread divorce.
In her book, Marquardt, herself the child of divorced parents, explains that children of so-called “good” divorces often compare poorly even to children of unhappy marriages, and look much worse than children raised in happy marriages. “Even when divorced parents behave well, their divorce confronts the child with the monumental task of having to make sense, alone, of the parents’ very different beliefs, values, and ways of living – a job the parents are no longer required to do,” she explains.
“As a consequence, children of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ divorces come to feel like divided selves,” she continued. “They lead a wholly separate life in each parent’s world, leading over time to a troubling inner division that goes to the heart of their identity.”
Marquardt makes clear that in divorced families, secrets are epidemic. “Children of divorce feel highly protective of each parent and routinely keep secrets for them, even when their parents do not ask them to,” she said. “The parents know little about their child’s life when the child is living with the other parent, and the child knows little about one parent’s world while living with the other.”
Marquardt adds that the experience of a loss of trust affects a child’s belief in God – making them much less religious than their peers from intact families. Marquardt believes, without apology, that it is vital that children, whenever possible, grow up with their own two married parents.
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