Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth

Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth

Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth

Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth

Synopsis

Featuring excerpts of essays collected from over one thousand young adults while in the throes of divorce, this book paints a picture of the pain and the hope shown by the storytellers. By framing the narratives with an analysis of the most recent divorce literature, the authors provide readers with a greater and more vivid understanding of the effects of divorce.

Challenging the contention that most children will be irretrievably hurt by their parents' divorce, some stories clearly demonstrate the strength and resilience many have learned in dealing with a divorce in the family. Emphasis is placed on how hope about the possibilities of having close relationships - as well as a willingness to create stronger families in their own lives - represent abiding motivations in this sample of young people. The authors hope that the use of the raw input of respondents will make the experiences more realistic and ultimately help people deal with major loss events in their lives.

Highlights of the new edition include:

  • A new chapter (7) that demonstrates the messiness of divorce (infidelity, dysfunctional interactions, multiple marriages/relationships, and the financial expense), the fading stigma of divorce, the latest divorce rates, the increased average age of first time marriages, and the recent hook-up phenomenon wherein young people are showing a reluctance to commitment
  • Updated throughout with the most current demographic data, new findings from the top researchers in the field, and the latest intervention programs
  • A review of the Divorce Variability and Fluidity Model (DVFM) that helps predict variability in adjusting to divorce
  • More suggestions to help children adapt to divorce, including material on parenting education classes and mediation as a method for easing the process
  • A list of readings and suggested websites for further review
  • More tables and graphs to summarize key concepts.

An ideal supplement for courses on divorce, family studies, close relationships, and loss and trauma taught in human development and family studies, and clinical, counseling, and social psychology, as well as communication, social work, and sociology, these engaging stories also appeal to practitioners and those interested in the effects of divorce in general.

Excerpt

At this point in my life, I’m almost positive that I’ll never get mar
ried. There’s a 0.5% chance of my getting married. I’m just so dis
illusioned by the whole concept. I don’t think my parents’ divorce
has affected me negatively that much. Their marriage, however, has
screwed me up more than I’ll probably ever know
.

A 20-year-old child of divorce participating in this project

It was commentaries such as this that originally stimulated this project for the first author. The commentaries were collected in his classes over a period of approximately 10 years (see Chapter 2 for discussion of method), with a follow-up collection over the next 6 years reported in Chapter 7. These words of anguish, which frequently were offset by words of relief and hope, suggested the value of allowing students whose parents have divorced to provide narratives to assist all of us in better understanding the depth and breadth of their experience. The first author was privileged to have the second author come on board later to provide his perspective from doing research and teaching in the field of dissolution and divorce for many years. The book then became a true collaboration among the authors and the many students who contributed narratives for the book.

We believe that this book is unique in its focus on young people’s own voices and experiences in relating to the topic of children of divorce. To our knowledge, no other book exists with such a plethora of narrative excerpts, linked to the scholarly literature on how young people deal with divorce in their families. We believe that the combination of . . .

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