Spoiled Children of Divorce

Studies About Divorce
November 29, 2007, 5:21 am
Filed under: Books, links to articles, Uncategorized | Tags:

A few studies have been published for the general public about kids from divorced families at this point. The Scientific ones performed by Psychologists that I’ve come across seem a little biased and limited in their understandings of what questions to ask. They are studies of between 100-200 people who live in one area of the United States. Is it Politically Incorrect to admit that they seem to always have been White?

I haven’t read any of the findings all the way through so please read them for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Sorry, I’m just a really slow and emotional reader. Some day I hope to make it through Judith Wallerstein’s book because the problems she’s located are specific to my own problems, problems that have to do with economic and education supports. The other researchers discount her studies because they say that many of her subjects were mentally ill. Well, yeah, what do you expect? In my experience the kids who aren’t mentally ill are emotionally either blank or numb.

Although I’ve had a lot of trouble finding a therapist to work with who actually grew up in a Divorced Family I have dated one. This guy literally went by 2 names. That’s what happens when you make your kid celebrate two Christmases and two Birthdays every year. Either way this guy’s answering machine (long time ago before voicemail) took forever to play through all his damn names. He had had a very violent Father so the divorce was necessary and from the looks of it came a little too late. Can you imagine being one of his patients, though?

So, here are the studies. The ones I know about are by women. You know the types if you’ve ever been in for the family counseling therapy. Barrel Shaped with Shoulder Pads and scarf around the neck. Actually, I don’t know what Judith Wallerstein looks like. I imagine her to be pretty.

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. Judith Wallerstein. Best in Class by a long shot (my opinion of course). 100+ kids from Marin County in California. I should check the spelling on her name.

For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. Mavis Heatherington. This is a study of 120-200 kids in Pennsylvania. Heatherington’s kind of mean. She said that she could detect some problems in many of the kids and realized that they probably weren’t as happy as they otherwise would have been but it didn’t really matter.

The Good Divorce. Constance Ahrons. Psychotic divorcing parents will love this book because it completely lets them off the hook by comparing their kids with some nice, 120 +/-, unquestioning white kids in a suburb in Ohio. If these kids or their parents had had mental illness or were non conformist in any way the parents would have moved to California long ago, hence the lack of mental illness in her test subjects. Plus, Ahrons actually lives in California herself and if she doesn’t have a DSM # herself she should go get one.

There are two really great books out that are written by women who actually grew up in Divorced Families so I tend to value these books much more.

The first is The Love They Lost: Living with the Legacy of Our Parent’s Divorce by Stephanie Staal. Ms. Staal’s parents divorced when she was 13. In this book she gives anecdotal stories about how people feel about growing up in families. The book is well-written. While working on her MFA, Staal put ads in newspapers across the country and used about 120 different people to get a cross cut of different stories. Here’s a link to an interview with her: http://www.enotalone.com/article/4508.html. I think I have read through most of this book.

The Second is Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce by Elisabeth Marquardt. Marquardt performed a genuine National study with control groups and everything. She only included opinions of people who were successful in some way by graduating in college or by succeeding early in their careers in order to determine if healthy, well-adjusted adults had She puts what seems to me like a very early age limit on her subjects, only including people whose parents divorced before they turned 13. One problem is that Marquardt is strongly religious and conservative and much of her study seems to be a marketing tool for Catholicism. I’m leery of this kind of thing because I listened to a set of audiotapes about divorce once that was created by a Christian Church to draw people in. The first tape helped you feel sorry for yourself. The second tape was practically screaming scripture into your ears. Marquardt weaves her own memories in with the results from her studies. She was very young when her parents divorced and she describes what it’s like to be a child who has to travel back and forth between homes. All the statistics from her research are in the back of the book and are fascinating.

I’m really debating whether or not to “publish” this. I’ll probably come back to these books again with a completely different attitude.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: