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They are actually proving my point.

No, they don't prove your point that it is divorce that damages children, nor does it prove your point that trying to stay together and hoping for things to improve is advisable in all cases except physical abuse. The claim "Irresponsible parents make kids suffer" is a platitude: people are fallible, so this is bound to happen; the real question is, which is the best way to deal with the problem when it comes up. When you say "irresponsible parent", you don't think it through: you probably only think of the irresponsibility of the abusive or otherwise problematic partner, but your "hope for things to improve" maxim applies to the otherpartner. And marrying an incompatible partner, not getting away from an abusive or otherwise dangerous partner, not getting away before standing on one's foot becomes difficult can all be considered irresponsible. To be specific, here is my take on the six cases:

  1. The wife should have accepted divorce when her children were about 10. Then even a re-marriage would have been in the cards, with the stepfather possibly serving as the father figure for the first child the real father wasn't.

  2. The first couple should have divorced after the adultery instead of moving. That way, the mother wouldn't have to look for a new job in a new place, and the children would have been spared the pressures of having to fit in in a new peer group and facing discrimination, keeping their old friends in their old school.

  3. The mother should have filed for divorce instead of drowning her sorrows in alcohol. That way, she would have kept both her health and her children.

  4. The mother should have filed for divorce when the father's paranoia started, not as a choice of career above family but for lack of respect. That way, the children would have been spared of the psychological effects.

  5. This one is a hard call: IMO the main problem was clearly the mother, whose exploitativeness was bound to mean trouble for the children, whether divorced or not. The point where the father could have prevented all this by acting differently is the very start of the marriage.

  6. Here the mother should have told the father to get a job or else before the more erratic behaviour started. If that didn't work, divorce as fast a possible, whatever friends & family think.

BTW, I left out a perhaps key detail from case no. 2, the one involving adultery, which I am reminded of by the incest discussion downthread. The original deterioration of the lover's first marriage and her desperation was related to the terminal illness of one of her children due to genetic incompatibility with her first husband. That child was still among the ones adopted in the re-marriage. Had there been no divorce and re-coupling, other tragedies would have been in store.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 12:14:12 PM EST
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