Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

Divorce and Kids

“And a husband must not divorce his wife.”  
 1 Corinthians 7:11

The daughter in Sunday’s “Dear Daddy” story described the trauma of her father’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 twenty‐five years, California psychologist Judith Wallerstein has tracked hundreds of children of divorce from childhood to adulthood. She’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. “Unlike the adult experience,” Wallerstein says, “the child’s suffering does not reach its peak at the breakup and then level off. The effect of the parents’ divorce is played and replayed throughout the first three decades of the children’s lives.” 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 parent‐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 doesn’t heal those wounds.

Just between us . . .

• Do you agree with the statements of these mental health professionals?
• If your parents divorced, what was your experience during and after the breakup?
• What would happen to our kids (or future children) if wedivorced?

Father, we thank You for the tender lives You’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.

• Material on divorce from “Children of Divorce Heal Slowly, Study Finds; Scholar’s Latest Evidence in Influential Series” 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.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at OnePlace.com.  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at drjamesdobson.org.

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About Family Talk

Family Talk is a Christian non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Founded in 2010 by Dr. James Dobson, the ministry promotes and teaches biblical principles that support marriage, family, and child-development. Since its inception, Family Talk has served millions of families with broadcasts, monthly newsletters, feature articles, videos, blogs, books and other resources available on demand via its website, mobile apps, and social media platforms.

About Dr. James Dobson

Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, "Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk." He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline, Love for a Lifetime, Life on the Edge, Love Must Be Tough, The New Strong-Willed Child, When God Doesn't Make Sense, Bringing Up Boys, Marriage Under Fire, Bringing Up Girls, Head Over Heels and, most recently, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift.

Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised five U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the following awards: Winston Churchill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faith & Freedom Coalition (2017), Daniel Award from AZ Christian University (2016), and the Defender of Life Award from the Justice Foundation (2015).

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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