About a week ago I read a article on how divorce is bad, and especially damaging to children. The article was written by a Psychologist who had based her research on speaking to dozens of children and her experience as a child psychologist for 40 years.
At the time of writing this week’s blog there are about 500 comments some for the article and some against. I’m a little surprised that we are still having this conversation. Technologically we are so advanced and have overcome so many challenging events in the last decade or so. 911, later the bombings in Bali, Tsunami’s in 2004 and 2011 to name just a few. And yet divorce seems to be the thing that is the most “devastating” thing for a child?
Divorce certainly has an affect on the children, grand children and other relatives. Putting a blanket statement like divorce is bad, itself can be very damaging. We live in an age where the general population has a greater understanding of the term “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you”. Yet this seems to have been forgotten in this study. There are so many things can affect children. Illness, disease, war, economic struggles. When we take these life events and make them the reason why we haven’t achieve what we wanted to, we totally disempower ourselves. I grew up in the eighties, most of my classmates came from divorced families. I look around at my classmates today, some of them are very successful and others aren’t, but their success isn’t reliant on whether their parents got divorced or not.
I believe that a large part of how children experience divorce depends on how the adults experience divorce. A divorce is an life event just the same as death, disease and famine. The determining factor on how children cope are dependent on the influencing adults around them. If I send my child to a therapist or psychologist who believes that my divorce has or will negatively impact my child, they will begin to look for evidence of adverse affects in my child. However, if I send my child to a therapist or psychologist who believes that my divorce has an impact, but puts no preconceived judgment on what that impact may be, they will begin to look for ways to build my child as well as heal the hurts that they may be feeling. The future for my child will be very different and very much dependent on how they were treated during the event.
I think the “divorce is bad vs divorce is good” argument is a meaningless argument. Divorce happens to roughly 50% of children, so it is more helpful to look at ways that we can better deal with divorce.
Isn’t it time we stop disempowering our selves and our children?