Divorce and Kids
â€œAnd a husband must not divorce his wife.â€
The daughter in Sundayâ€™s â€œDear Daddyâ€ story described the trauma of her fatherâ€™s deserting their family as like being in a car wreck. That is the impact divorce typically has on children. It is devastating! For more than twentyâ€five years, California psychologist Judith Wallerstein has tracked hundreds of children of divorce from childhood to adulthood. Sheâ€™s found that the distress young children experience after a divorce remains with them throughout their lives, making it more difficult for them to cope with challenges. â€œUnlike the adult experience,â€ Wallerstein says, â€œthe childâ€™s suffering does not reach its peak at the breakup and then level off. The effect of the parentsâ€™ divorce is played and replayed throughout the first three decades of the childrenâ€™s lives.â€ Harvard University psychiatrist Armand Nicholi says that the pain of divorce is worse for children five years later than at the time the family disintegrates. He also links interruption of parentâ€child relationships with an escalation in psychiatric problems for children.
The next time the idea of divorce enters your thoughts, consider the consequences of such an act on the most vulnerable members of your family. Research shows that time doesnâ€™t heal those wounds.
Just between us . . .
â€¢ Do you agree with the statements of these mental health professionals?
â€¢ If your parents divorced, what was your experience during and after the breakup?
â€¢ What would happen to our kids (or future children) if wedivorced?
Father, we thank You for the tender lives Youâ€™ve placed in our care. We resolve never to harm them through the violence of divorce. Strengthen and bless this commitment in our thoughts and actions each day. Amen.
â€¢ Material on divorce from â€œChildren of Divorce Heal Slowly, Study Finds; Scholarâ€™s Latest Evidence in Influential Seriesâ€ by Barbara Vobejda (Washington Post, 3 June 1997), and presentation given by Dr. Armand Nicholi at the White House Conference on the State of the American Family, 3 May 1983. Available in the Congressional Record, Extension of Remarks, 3 May 1983.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
And a husband must not divorce his wife (1 Cor. 7:11). The distress young children experience after a divorce remains with them throughout their lives.
When faced with the breakup of her parentsâ€™ marriage, a hurting teenager used the following word picture in this letter to her father.