Third and this is very important the great majority

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Third — and this is very important, the great majority of children whose parents divorce do not develop these kinds of serious behavioral or emotional problems. Most children from divorced families are resilient, especially when their parents do a reasonably good job managing the stress of divorce. These children — most children from divorced families — feel and function pretty much like kids whose parents are married. They are not "children of divorce." They are what we want all children to be: just kids. Fourth and this is also very important, many resilient children still report painful memories and ongoing worries about divorce, their relationships with their parents, and their parents' relationship with each other. Lisa Lawman-Billings and I (2000) studied the pain reported by 99 college students whose parents had divorced at least 3 years previously. Below is a graph of the percentage who reported painful feelings on some of our carefully structured items. Keep in
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mind as you look at these dramatic findings, pain is not pathology. Grief is not a mental disorder. Even though many of these young people expressed longing about their parents' divorce, these were resilient, well-functioning college students. You may not be able to fully protect your children from the pain of divorce, and you probably shouldn't try. Children are entitled to their feelings. Children need to be allowed to grieve. Still, as I tell you how in The Truth about Children and Divorce, you can promote your children's resilience and do much to ease their pain.
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  • Fall '09
  • John Bowlby

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