« A New Look and Photo Album | Main | Even Family Movies Aren’t Entirely Safe for Toddlers »

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I agree with this, but if children are living with parents who are fighting all the time, or even if they are civil but there is obvious lost of love and an undertone of animosity towards each other, doesn't that do more harm to them?

on this: Twenty percent of those from split marriages report they had felt “like a different person with each of my parents.” Only 8 percent of children from married couples felt that way. I don't see why exactlyh this is a bad thing???

Also, to be really valid, the study would have to compare kids of divorced people to kids of people who stayed married despite fighting etc., that is, people who stay in "bad marriages." That would really be the only valid comparison. Which I am pretty sure is not the comparison here.

Jaime and Chip: I totally agree that the missing piece from this study is what would happen if these kids grew up in a bad marriage. That's why I wrote, "are children who grow up in extremely unhappy marriages worse or better off than those from divorced parentage? Whether the omission is from the Times story or Marquardt’s book, I don’t yet know."

Maybe I should have intensified that line?

I guess I shouldn't feel so alone... There are so many adults like me who felt lost and alone as a kid and still feel that way sometimes. I'll probably never get over my insecurities, and that's good because I'll make damn sure that my own kids don't have to worry about their place in the world.

Phil, I feel much the same way. Whereas my dad died when I was young, I still seem to be hyper-aware of the dad role as a result.

As a child of divorced parents, I'd say that fits with my experiences.

My daughter (who is in kindergarten) and I just had a discussion yesterday morning about divorce. One of the girls in her class is a child of divorced parents. I had to explain to the Princess that divorce sometimes happens to parents. I then launched into a speal about how so most of our family has been married for years and years. Hubs parents. My parents. Hubs grandparents. etc.... Had to put a positive spin on the discussion..

Grace, it's nice that you have a family that stays married. I think that will greatly benefit your children.

While my dad died when I was nine, my grandparents stayed married their entire lives. I think their example helped me evolve a preference for lifetime marriage.

In the study we compared “good” and “bad” divorces with three types of marriages: unhappy but low conflict marriages, unhappy and high conflict marriages, and happy marriages. Grown children of “good” divorces fared worse on many indicators than those from unhappy, low conflict marriages (and recall that the majority of marriages ending in divorce are low conflict), and they fared far worse than those who recall their parents having a happy marriage. The table explaining these comparisons and how they were made is found in appendix A in the back of the book. (Appendix B reports the full survey data.)

It is clear from this study that children of both “bad” divorces and unhappy, high conflict marriages have, generally speaking, childhoods filled with suffering. Other research (by Paul Amato and Alan Booth) has shown that when a high conflict marriage ends the children, on average, do better. My study supports that, but I also think it’s important that we look at the experience of children of divorce *even when* the divorce was clearly necessary. I interviewed in person some of these young people whose high conflict parents divorced. Their summary was along the lines of: “The divorce made some things better but a whole lot of things worse.” The fighting in their home was reduced. But their parents’ miserable parenting skills did not improve much by virtue of divorce, and the children were exposed to new risks after the divorce, including higher risks of sexual abuse by unrelated adults passing through the home, more time alone without either parent in the house, financial worries, and more.

My name didn't show up in my comment above. This was posted by Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. I hope you'll consider reading it. Thanks...

Thanks Elizabeth for clearing that up. So children's experiences depend on how bad a marriage has become.

This line seems to fit what some of my readers are saying:

"Other research (by Paul Amato and Alan Booth) has shown that when a high-conflict marriage ends the children, on average, do better."

My soon to be X just got temp. custody of my twin daughters based on a family court judge which happens to be 2nd cousin to one of his main witnesses in our divorce. Me soon to be x had not even seen my girls in 7 months. He also has a history of violence toward children his own son as well as his step daughter was removed from his home by cps. How could anyone allow this to happen I have no type of a records at all I was a counter manager to a large cosmetic comp. how you ask un- fair justice and a small town in wv!!! anyone know of any links to help get this story out or you want more info please em me !!! This has caused so much trama on the girls they cry when I get to see them to come home to mommy we need all of the help in the world!!! My girls were just fine without there father when I found the past cps paper work we were done he did not even try to find us until 3 months after I had moved away. HE has been around the girls approx. 1 year on and off!!! I gave him his chance the family court judge refused to even look at his past this past is still on going!!!!

Angelea, I think you really need to talk to a lawyer.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Become a Fan

Blog powered by Typepad


  • The opinions expressed on DadTalk are the author(s) and the author(s) alone. We make no warranties on the accuracy of the information. Any personal or financial decisions you make based on the information presented on this website are YOUR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY ONLY.