Yes, You Can Raise Happy Children after Divorce

When we first started discussing divorce, our son was the reason I told myself we couldn’t do it. Yes, my own parents divorced when I was five, and I’m fine. Or fine enough. I’m certainly as fine as most people I know. When I look around at my friends, I can’t point to any divide in happiness, success or marital status between those whose parents divorced and those whose didn’t.

But still. Wouldn’t our son be more fine if we stayed married?

Not according to four decades of research. Ideally, perhaps, we’d all awaken to a happy, harmonious marriage simmering on the hearth, casting a protective net over our children, but if you’ve reached the point of divorcing, this is not your other option.

Nor is it what kids need to thrive. Research shows that about 80-percent of children of divorce do well in life. They adapt, and see no lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health. These findings arrive from a variety of sources, including a 20-year study done by psychologist Constance Ahrons, published as the book We’re Still Family. (For help on your own divorce, check out Ahrons’ book, The Good Divorce.) 

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