Magazine article Newsweek

Fast Chat: The Secret Pain of Divorce

Magazine article Newsweek

Fast Chat: The Secret Pain of Divorce

Article excerpt

Byline: Peg Tyre

While everyone knows divorce is tough on kids, researcher and writer Elizabeth Marquardt says even when the split is amicable, kids still suffer. For her controversial new book, "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce," Marquardt spent three years interviewing 1,500 young adults--half from divorced families--who described the painful emotional, moral and spiritual dilemmas they faced. Marquardt talks with NEWSWEEK's Peg Tyre about the pain children of divorce may be harboring and what parents can do about it.

What feelings do children of divorce share?

They feel strongly and intensely that their parents are polar opposites, even if they don't fight. They feel they must take care of their parents rather than be taken care of. They feel loss and anger. They also feel their spiritual life is damaged because God's image as a parent is painful for them.

Many couples think it's best for the kids if the parents share custody. True?

While everyone agrees that losing contact with a child is a tragedy, presuming that joint physical custody is right for everyone is dangerous. Judges and parents need to be flexible and be oriented around the needs of the child--not the parents. Joint custody is, for some families, the best choice--but it's not a solution for everyone.

But surely divorcing parents can do something to minimize the impact on their kids?

The happy talk is that if both parents stay in touch with the kid and limit conflict, things are going to be OK. …

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