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WHY DIDN'T SHE NOTICE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM???
on March 22, 2014
I was very dismayed that Sussman omitted the single most important issue divorced mothers face.
The effects of divorce upon their children. Women desperately need to know what sort of problems their children will have as a result of the divorce. What can be done to help children? What has been shown to harm children? There is almost a century of scientific research into the subject, and we talking massive, simply massive numbers of research studies.
When compared to children who grow up with their biological parents, children of divorce:
Are 70% more likely to drop out of high school
Are 75% more likely to live in poverty
Are hugely more at risk for developing alcohol and drug dependency
Are 85% more likely to exhibit behavioral disorders
Are more likely to have reading problems
Are 75% more likely to end up in chemical dependency hospitals
Are far less likely to take advanced classes.
Are twice as likely to be arrested
Are 80% of the prison population
Rarely qualify for gifted classes.
Are more likely to be promiscuous
Are 40 times more likely to be abused
Are 3 out of 4 of teenage suicides
No, it isn't just poverty. Not only do almost all the research studies carefully sift the data for the effects of poverty, even the briefest glance at studies of the very wealthy who divorce, and the impact it has on their children, removes that possibility. The children of very wealthy parents may not end up poor; but all too often they end up with substance abuse problems, emotional problems, and failure.
What about high IQ children? A recent researcher studying the famous Terman study of very gifted children, found that, even among these gifted, affluent children, those whose parents had divorced were far less likely to be successful. And, strangely, they died five years earlier.
Nor does finding a replacement spouse work. Here's a shocking revelation backed by thousands of research studies: children who end up living with a stepparent, statistically, fare even worse than children of mothers who only divorced. It is urgent that women be told at what age remarriage tends to not harm a child; at what age, trouble ensues. A thousand issues Sussman simply ignores.
I would also like to point out that the research has been worldwide. We have studies from Brazil, from Sweden, from Nigeria, from China. And the research keeps showing the same results.
"Meta-analyses of studies conducted between 1950 and 1999 indicated that children from divorced homes function more poorly than children from continuously married parents across a variety of domains, including academic achievement, social relations and conduct problems "[Winslow, E. (2004) Preventitive Interventions for Children of Divorce. Psychiatric Times, February 1, 2004 p45
The dividing line between the prosperous who flourish in school and end up rich, and the poorly educated is marriage, as per "State of Our Unions 2010".
This is so heartbreaking. It's bad enough that our current culture does so little to support marriage. But how can any of us bear to imagine out children being harmed? Women must be warned, because there are things they can do to prevent the harm of divorce. There are people who manage a divorce and yet raise healthy, happy, educated children.
Of course, Sussman's book was not about children, it was just another in the upbeat self-help books that flood the market. Nevertheless, she writes "Although this is not a book about parenting, I worry that if you slip into too many bad habits, it will affect your recovery" (p 111).
Your recovery?? Your? And yet this is in her chapter on children and divorce. And all she can think about is the divorcing woman.
She mentions no serious resources to help women help their children through this trauma. And I had to deduce that she is fully aware of the harm divorce can do to children since she refers to it clearly on page 182, where she writes that if your parents divorced, "even a 'good divorce' will have an effect on your attachment style".
Anyone looking for help should try: What about the kids? : raising your children before, during, and after divorce by Judith Wallerstein. Wallerstein also wrote: The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. Some other eye-opening books on the topic:"Marriage and Caste in America", "Fatherless America", "Marriage-Go-Round", and "The Abolition of Marriage",.