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Divorce Hurts Kids
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Divorce hurts children. Though some experts argue against the negative effects on kids, divorce does damage – even if the split is justified or necessary. There is a line of argument that goes like this, “Kids are resilient and they will bounce back,” but the long term effects are harmful to them all the way around.

For one thing, divorce injects anger into the hearts of children. Many kids will say well into their adult years, “My parent’s choice was not fair to me. I had no say in the matter. They made a choice that broke my life into pieces. It was like a bombshell.” Grades suffer. Rebelliousness increases. Promiscuity is more common. It raises the statistics that these kids will someday divorce.

Elizabeth Marquardt writes in her book Between Two Worlds, “Our parents’ divorce is linked to our higher rates of depression, suicidal attempts and thoughts, health problems, childhood sexual abuse, school dropout, failure to attend college, arrests, addiction, teen pregnancy and more … Some of us continue to struggle with the scars left from our parents’ divorce: we have a harder time finishing school, getting and keeping jobs, maintaining relationships, and having lasting marriages.”1

Abandoned and Confused

Children suffer in many different ways from their parents’ divorce. The predominant research reveals the challenges and scars kids face as they grow up. Judith Wallerstein (who recently passed away) was a psychologist who created a 25-year study on the effects of divorce on children.2 Her findings do not show that children just “bounce back." Divorce colors their views of the world and relationships for the rest of their lives. Couples with children may think, “What’s good for us (splitting up) is good for the kids,” need to think twice before throwing in the towel. Kids commonly struggle feeling abandoned and confused.

This little article does not deny that there are traumatic home situations in which boundaries must be drawn. We should not deny the grace and healing which God can bring to the hearts of those from broken homes. And we should never distance ourselves from expressing compassion toward friends and family who have experienced divorce as a couple or as children.

Yet, it is still worth our time to stop and remember, “Divorce hurts kids.” Couples who think divorce is an easy way out forget the emotional damage kids may carry for 30 or more years. Most marriages headed for divorce can be salvaged and turned around by God’s grace and with the intervention of godly counsel.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1 Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Three Rivers Press, 2006).
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Wallerstein

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