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The Sound Marital House

John Gottman has been conducting marital therapy research for almost 30 years, and is a well-respected leader in the field. Based on this research and clinical testing of the theory, he and his wife Julie Schwartz-Gottman have developed a solid understanding of why some relationships last and why some do not, as well as an effective model for relationship therapy. The Gottmans have studied both the “masters and disasters” of marriage (as the absence of what makes for a good relationship... more

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Telling Children About Divorce

Divorce

Many parents feel that facing their children, telling them that the world as they know it is about to change, and explaining why this is so, is the most difficult aspect of the divorce. They may well be right. Many parents, due to their anxiety about this step, do a terrible job of telling the children. They don’t intend to do a terrible job, but their fears, concerns for the children’s ability to understand what is happening, and desire to “spare them the pain” as much... more

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Step-Families: When Families Mend

Divorce

Bray and Kelly report the findings of their extensive research in a new book, Step-Families: Love, Marriage, and Parenting in the First Decade. They explain that they found three main types of step-families. They discovered that step-families have their own Life Cycle, different from “traditional families,” and it takes several years for the family as a whole to solidify. The first two years are marked by intense conflict. The next two to three years are marked by relative peace. After... more

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Why Do People Divorce?

Divorce

Estimates from the US Census tell us that almost half of all marriages today end in divorce, and the average marriage lasts almost seven years. This averages to almost one million divorces per year for the last ten years. If you factor in the ending of gay and lesbian relationships (since such couples can’t be legally married, they can’t be legally divorced and thus don’t get counted in these statistics), as well as committed but unmarried heterosexual couples, the numbers grow... more

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Divorced Mothers

Divorce

Much has been written about divorced mothers and their relationships with their children. Mothers, according to many authors, receive primary parenting responsibilities and physical custody of the children far more often than fathers. As a result, much of the research has focused upon mothers and their parenting, adjustment, and lifestyle changes. Sometimes it is easy to see the problems divorced mothers experience as based solely on them, their coping, and their responses. Keep in mind when you... more

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Divorced Fathers

Divorce

Divorced fathers face a heavy maternal preference in the courts. This is based on the “tender years” presumption that younger children need to be in the care of their mothers, and that fathers were not able to provide the same level of care. Although this sexist legal precedent has been removed from the law books, it still dominates judges’ minds. Jeffrey Leving, in his book, Father’s Rights, indicates that 85% of cases today include the mother being awarded physical custody... more

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When Divorce Is Inevitable

Divorce

McKay and his colleagues wrote The Divorce Book: A Practical and Compassionate Guide. While a little dated, this is an excellent book discussing the steps of divorce, the dangers at each step for the adults involved, and ways to cope. Stages of Divorce Stage One – Separation Shock After partners separate and have time away from each other, they may feel numbed, panicked, or depressed, and may try to deny what has happened. However, research supports that by the time most people reach this... more

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Children of Divorce and Adjustment

Divorce

Effect on Children There’s a lot of research out these days on children of divorce after they grow up. However, if you review some of the key research published regarding adjustment of children during and soon after a divorce, you’ll find a lot of confusion. Some of it stems from the confusion that occurs between the child’s age at the divorce and the child’s age when problems develop. A child at age 12 who experienced his parents’ divorce at age six is different... more

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Consequences of Parental Divorce

Divorce

Consequences of Parental Divorce and Marital Unhappiness for Adult Well-Being Article by Amato and Booth The Marriage and Divorce of the Children of Divorce Article by Glenn and KramerReview by Richard Niolon These two articles were published in the journal Family Therapy. They provide a nice review of the main ideas about how divorce “spreads” from one generation to the next by reviewing some of the key research published to date. For example: Cox and Cox (1985) found that boys of... more