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Also, try to avoid bringing third parties to special occasions for a little while. A new person will eventually be part of the picture and will need to be included, but everything in due time. Life happens and nothing fits in a mold, let alone a shared custody mold. You can share content and communicate efficiently with your ex-partner, while sharing important information such as health cards, insurance, passports, etc.

Sure, they can move their favorite toy from one house to another, but try to have the essentials ready at both places to minimize the feeling of moving every time they have to go to the other house. I personally found that alternating weeks was too long spent away from my kids.

The D-Word, the Story of Divorce Through a Child's Eyes

With my ex, we decided the rotation was the best formula for us. If divorce is going to suck, you might as well get something out of it. Take some time to write down on paper what you are looking for in your next relationship, as well as what you will not tolerate. This will help you put any new prospect into perspective. The scene has evolved. Getting back in the action is a great step forward, but make sure you are ready and make sure you know what the new rules of engagement are. A demanding workload at your job or school can increase your stress level — and your waistline.

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Many are afraid that they will be abandoned by both parents and they have trouble sleeping or staying by themselves. It is therefore surprising to find that the same children 10 years later seem better adjusted than their older siblings. Now in early and mid-adolescence, they were rated better on a wide range of psychological dimensions than the older children. Sixty-eight percent were doing well, compared with less than 40 percent of older children.

But whether having been young at the time of divorce will continue to protect them as they enter young adulthood is an open question. Our study shows that adolescence is a period of particularly grave risk for children in divorced families. Through rigorous analysis, statistical and otherwise, we were able to see clearly that we weren't dealing simply with the routine angst of young people going through transition but rather that, for most of them, divorce was the single most important cause of enduring pain and anomie in their lives.

The young people told us time and again how much they needed a family structure, how much they wanted to be protected, and how much they yearned for clear guidelines for moral behavior. An alarming number of teen-agers felt abandoned, physically and emotionally. For children, divorce occurs during the formative years. What they see and experience becomes a part of their inner world, influencing their own relationships 10 and 15 years later, especially when they have witnessed violence between the parents.

A Mom’s Guide to a Healthy Divorce

It is then, as these young men and women face the developmental task of establishing love and intimacy, that they most feel the lack of a template for a loving relationship between a man and a woman. It is here that their anxiety threatens their ability to create new, enduring families of their own. As these anxieties peak in the children of divorce throughout our society, the full legacy of the rising divorce rate is beginning to hit home. The new families being formed today by these children as they reach adulthood appear par-ticularly vulnerable.

Lacking fundamental knowledge about life after the breakup of a marriage, we could not know on what basis to build a comparison or control group. Was the central issue one of economics, age, sex, a happy intact marriage - or would any intact marriage do? We began, therefore, with a question - What is the nature of the divorce experience? This has indeed been the case. Numerous studies have been conducted in different regions of the country, using control groups, that have further explored and validated our findings as they have emerged over the years. For example, one national study of elementary school children carefully compared children six years after their parents' divorce with children from intact families.

It found - as we did - that elementary-age boys from divorced families show marked discrepancies in peer relationships, school achievement and social adjustment. Girls in this group, as expected, were hardly distinguishable based on the experience of divorce, but, as we later found out, this would not always hold up. Moreover, our findings are supported by a litany of modern-day statistics. Although one in three children are from divorced families, they account for an inordinately high proportion of children in mental-health treatment, in special-education classes, or referred by teachers to school psychologists.

Children of divorce make up an estimated 60 percent of child patients in clinical treatment and 80 percent - in some cases, percent - of adolescents in inpatient mental hospital settings. While no one would claim that a cause and effect relationship has been established in all of these cases, no one would deny that the role of divorce is so persuasively suggested that it is time to sound the alarm. All studies have limitations in what they can accomplish. Longitudinal studies, designed to establish the impact of a major event or series of events on the course of a subsequent life, must always allow for the influence of many interrelated factors.

They must deal with chance and the uncontrolled factors that so often modify the sequences being followed. This is particularly true of children, whose lives are influenced by developmental changes, only some of which are predictable, and by the problem of individual differences, about which we know so little. Our sample, besides being quite small, was also drawn from a particular population slice - predominately white, middle class and relatively privileged suburbanites. Despite these limitations, our data have generated working hypotheses about the effects of divorce that can now be tested with more precise methods, including appropriate control groups.

Future research should be aimed at testing, correcting or modifying our initial findings, with larger and more diverse segments of the population. For example, we found that children - especially boys and young men - continued to need their fathers after divorce and suffered feelings of rejection even when they were visited regularly. I would like to see a study comparing boys and girls in sole and joint custody, spanning different developmental stages, to see if greater access to both parents counteracts these feelings of rejection.

Or, does joint custody lead to a different sense of rejection - of feeling peripheral in both homes? It is time to take a long, hard look at divorce in America. Divorce is not an event that stands alone in childrens' or adults' experience. It is a continuum that begins in the unhappy marriage and extends through the separation, divorce and any remarriages and second divorces.

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Divorce is not necessarily the sole culprit. It may be no more than one of the many experiences that occur in this broad continuum. Profound changes in the family can only mean profound changes in society as a whole. All children in today's world feel less protected. They sense that the institution of the family is weaker than it has ever been before.

Even those children raised in happy, intact families worry that their families may come undone. The task for society in its true and proper perspective is to strengthen the family - all families. A biblical phrase I have not thought of for many years has recently kept running through my head: ''Watchman, what of the night? We are allowing them to bear the psychological, economic and moral brunt of divorce.

And they recognize the burdens.

In Your Child's Best Interest: A Guide for Divorcing Parents (E2723)

When one 6-year-old boy came to our center shortly after his parents' divorce, he would not answer questions; he played games instead. First he hunted all over the playroom for the sturdy Swedish-designed dolls that we use in therapy. When he found a good number of them, he stood the baby dolls firmly on their feet and placed the miniature tables, chairs, beds and, eventually, all the playhouse furniture on top of them. He looked at me, satisfied. The babies were supporting a great deal. Then, wordlessly, he placed all the mother and father dolls in precarious positions on the steep roof of the doll house.

As a father doll slid off the roof, the boy caught him and, looking up at me, said, ''He might die. He caught them gently, one by one. Although our overall findings are troubling and serious, we should not point the finger of blame at divorce per se. Indeed, divorce is often the only rational solution to a bad marriage. When people ask whether they should stay married for the sake of the children, I have to say, ''Of course not. And although we lack systematic studies comparing children in divorced families with those in unhappy intact families, I am convinced that it is not useful to provide children with a model of adult behavior that avoids problem-solving and that stresses martyrdom, violence or apathy.

A divorce undertaken thoughtfully and realistically can teach children how to confront serious life problems with compassion, wisdom and appropriate action. Our findings do not support those who would turn back the clock. As family issues are flung to the center of our political arena, nostalgic voices from the right argue for a return to a time when divorce was more difficult to obtain. But they do not offer solutions to the wretchedness and humiliation within many marriages.

Still, we need to understand that divorce has consequences - we need to go into the experience with our eyes open.

Therapy Advice : How to Help Children Cope With a Divorce

We need to know that many children will suffer for many years. As a society, we need to take steps to preserve for the children as much as possible of the social, economic and emotional security that existed while their parents' marriage was intact. Like it or not, we are witnessing family changes which are an integral part of the wider changes in our society. We are on a wholly new course, one that gives us unprecedented opportunities for creating better relationships and stronger families - but one that also brings unprecedented dangers for society, especially for our children.

The D-Word: Divorce Through A Child’s Eyes

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The walls seemed strong and firm. No holes to be seen.


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Where could they be? I knew they must be somewhere, but my search for a gap, or even a crack, yielded no fruit. But when I looked around his place, I was equally disappointed.

My parents' divorce had lifelong effects on me and I am still feeling them.

Yet, despite this, people insisted that I came from a broken home. I can see there is something broken about my family. Very broken. Instead of being one supportive unit, our home has been one of incessant fighting, friction and worry. And I hate it. I hate being stuck in the middle of two sides, trapped in the center of the conflict, with no place to turn.

I am the rope that each parent is so desperate to gain. They each pull without compromise, determined to win me over. Each pull is a painful blow, a searing pain that pierces my soul. Sometimes I think the solution would be to just go to one side—to give one parent the victory. But that means that the other has to declare defeat.

How could I willingly tear a part of my heart out like that? With each tug, those knots that bound our family together start to unravel. Soon the rope will tear in half, and as a result, both my parents will fall to the ground. I wish my parents would realize how much their love is crushing me. I wish they could just see things the way I do. But if I want them to look at things differently, then I have to as well.

Appreciate all their love. Because she loves you and wants to be with you. And the more they pull, the more I stretch. With each tug, those painful blows, I become bigger, stronger, more resilient. I am fighting the odds, the friction; I am the one walking on the minefield.

I can win, and I will! Life is all about choices. I could choose to be the rope, or I could opt to be elastic. This is the mindset that keeps me going, and helps me appreciate the hard times in my life. I am no longer ashamed of my troubles, but I hold them high as my badge of honor. I can tell the world: These are mine! This is how I grew. It is through these that I developed my maturity and integrity, my love of life. Now what do you have to show for yourself? Surely there is no way to justify my troubles, that knife that is constantly searing into me.


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  4. Yes, it hurts to be beautiful. And maybe it was good that my parents split up—after all, my home is a lot calmer now. And all the wrong that you see is really an illusion—it seems that way only because our perspective is so limited. Perhaps when we focus on one area of the artwork it might seem dark or plain, but those details are needed to bring out the true beauty of the painting.

    Because of the dark parts, the colors are able to truly shine. Maybe ten years ago, when my home was filled with shouting and arguments—maybe then it was broken. But not anymore. Sometimes, the best way of fixing something is by taking it apart and starting anew. Like dismantling an old car and using the pieces to build another. And sometimes, the new car is so much more worthwhile that you wonder why you bothered with the old one in the first place. I could never understand why I chose my family.

    Why did I decide to land with divorced parents? So I wonder: did my parents get married only because my soul asked to be born into their family? He arranged my family, made my parents marry even though they were unsuitable for one another—only so that I could be born into the circumstances I wished for, so that I could become precisely the person I am today.

    All it took was that change in perspective to turn my frown upside down and to dry my tears. I could wear the shaded glasses, or I could swap them for sunny ones. I could choose to smile or to cry. I could be an ordinary rope, or I could be the elastic. And , this is what I would like to say. You are so very smart!


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    When you were young , I would answer your questions ; or help you see things more poitively I showed you that there are better , more positive ways to look our situation. Now that you are all grown up , B. You are so smart as I have always known you are. I am more proud of you than ever. Mother Reply. Positives of Divorce I agree Charles and yet divorce is necessary at times and there are positives to it as well - such as good work ethic for example - which is HUGE!.

    Pretty much all of the movers and shakers of this world came from adversity in their childhood, many from divorce, illegitimacy, the death of parents, abuse and neglect, etc. This is where good mentors come in, and the world is sorely lacking in them today unfortunately. If Death is the first D, I disagree. Divorce can be worse than death if the child sees it as willful abandonment. Death is rarely willful.