We're Still Family
What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' DivorceBook - 2004
What is the real legacy of divorce? Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author of the highly praised The Good Divorce, decided to find out by expanding her landmark study to include in-depth interviews with 173 grown children whose divorcing parents she interviewed twenty years earlier. What she has learned is both heartening and significant.
In We're Still Family, Ahrons challenges the myth that children of divorce are troubled, drug abusing, academically challenged, and unable to form adult relationships. Instead she provides new evidence that the legacy of divorce is not as devastating as some researchers have suggested. Major findings show that:Most of these young adults emerged stronger and wiser in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- their parents' divorces and remarriages.
The majority were very clear that their parents' divorce had positive outcomes, not only for their parents but for themselves as well.
More than half felt that their relationships with their fathers actually improved after the divorce.
While their new families of stepparents and half-siblings may look different from other families, the majority of these young adults feel connected to the family members who make up their world.
Divorce is never easy for any family, but it does not have to destroy children's lives or lead to family breakdown. By listening to the voices of these grown children, divorcing parents will learn what they can do to maintain family bonds. They will find helpful road maps identifying both the benefits and the harms to children postdivorce. Parents need to be comforted by the truth about divorce and not threatened by alarming misinformation and overblown worst-case scenarios. And they need to believe that after all is said and done, their children will look at their post divorce families and say with conviction, "We're still family."