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          When Staying Together for the Kids Isn’t Best

          September 02, 2002

          You shouldn’t get divorced until you earn your way out. That means turning over every stone and exploring every avenue of rehabilitation in a sincere effort to reconnect with your partner. If you’ve done this and decided that you need to get a divorce but are afraid it would harm the children, consider the facts.

          Research shows that kids who grow up in an emotionally barren, abusive environment don’t do as well as kids who grow up with one well-adjusted, single parent. This is not a totally non-controversial statement, so look at some of the research and decide for yourself:

        • More than 75 percent of children with divorced parents end up as happy and well adjusted as their counterparts with intact families. In a study of more than 1,400 families, it was found that, “the other 20 percent developed some kind of psychological, emotional, or academic problem, compared to 10 percent of the non-divorced group.”
          From “For Better or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered” by E. Mavis Hetherington, Ph.D., and John Kelly.

        • In another study in which 59 divorced families were interviewed for over 25 years, it was found that almost all children of divorce grow up with fears about being able to sustain a happy relationship. Therapy and supportive spouses can help, but according to the study, “growing into adulthood was definitely harder for them.”
          From “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce” by Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D.

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