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http://www.stepfamily.org/statistics.html

The Statistics are Staggering:

Stepfamilies are not addressed, assessed and counted---further catapulting those who live in and lead our society into the quagmire of ignorance. The numbers tell the story: The US Bureau of Census relates:

    1300 new stepfamilies are forming every day.
    Over 50% of US families are remarried or re-coupled.
    The average marriage in America lasts only seven years.
    One out of two marriages ends in divorce.
    75% remarry
    66% of those living together or remarried break up, when children are involved.
    80% of remarried, or re-coupled, partners with children both have careers.
    50% of the 60 million children under the age of 13 are currently living with one biological parent and that parent's current partner.
    The 1990 US Census stated there will be more stepfamilies than original families by the year 2000
    The 2000 US Census did not mention stepfamilies. According to the Stepfamily Foundation's estimates more than 50% of divorced fathers children visit their children. These children do not legally "reside" with their fathers. So, neither government nor academic research include these fathers and their children as stepfamilies. They are completely ignored and uncounted. Thus, boosting the numbers to well over 50% of US families. o 2 out 3 marriages under taking place under 30 years of age end in divorce.(US Census)
    75% complain of "not having access to resources as a stepfamily," according to a recent Stepfamily Foundation survey of 2000 web questionnaires.
    It is generally considered by researchers that couples today have a deficit of skills with which to make partnerships last. Explanations abound.
    80% of married women have careers and women are less dependent on the support of the male partner.
    Over 80% of women who enter into stepfamilies are career women. These women do not have to endure the unexpected rigors of remarriage.
    Men who choose to end a marriage also know that career women cost less to divorce.
    A Boston University psychologist researcher reported that of the career women who had married men with children over 75% said that, "if they had do it again they would NOT marry a man with children."
    50% of all women, not just mothers, are likely to live in a stepfamily relationship, when we include living-together families in our definition of the stepfamily." states Professor of Sociology Larry L. Bumpass of the University of Wisconsin.
 

And we are in year 2012

http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

Serial transitions in and out of marriage/divorce/cohabitation is now typical of family life in the US but has significant consequences for children (Cherlin, 2009).

and soooo on...

by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:11:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it hard to reconcile this:

"The average marriage in America lasts only seven years."

With this:

"One out of two marriages ends in divorce."

Does that mean that NO marriage breaks up after seven years? I know that some marriages end in death before seven years, but that must be very marginal.
And the distribution is skewed to the right, so you'd expect a bigger average than median. Yet we are being told that the median is marriage to death. So 7 years???

Similarly, if 50% of women are living in a stepfamily, it should be many, many more than 50% of families that are re-coupled.

Some of the numbers MUST be wrong.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that some marriages end in death before seven years, but that must be very marginal.

Who knows, maybe marriage between old people or between old and young people is more common in the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:10:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"75% remarry"

i.e. it's the serial marriers who skew the average towards the left.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not miss it and it does not. The minimum a marriage can last is just over 0 while it can last a lot longer than 14 years (and does in a great many case if 50% end by death), and there cannot be such a huge proportion of serial marriers anyway if only 50% end in divorce.

The only possibility, indeed, would be that a huge proportion of marriages end by death within 10 years. I find that somewhat improbable.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK let's say there is some loose terminology involved. Let's look at the US stats
 :
FASTSTATS - Marriage and Divorce
  • Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population
  • Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.)

This leads to the simple (but probably false) takeaway that one out of two marriages ends in divorce... depends on your endpoints! There is no obvious way of calculating an intuitively correct ratio.

Likewise, the average duration of marriage. The US census bureau won't give a straight answer, which is perfectly normal.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:40:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm beginning to suspect that seven years is the average of the length of marriage for divorces only.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:50:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How long do marriages last and how quickly do people remarry? Table 8, profiling the marital experience of the population as of 2009, shows that first marriages which ended in divorce lasted a median of 8 years for men and women overall. The median time from marriage to separation was shorter--about 7 years.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seven years is the average length of divorce.

No?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 01:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
7 years is average for the first marriage. Second is even shorter...
by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:09:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serial divorcers and remarriers skew the distribution towards short durations.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 01:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really, as long as only 50% or marriages end in divorce (maybe false, but stated), you clearly have a distribution skewed to the right even if most of the 50% were of the serial variety. As serial as they might be (and I doubt that most of divorces are of the kind), they can't have a negative duration, whereas you can go way over 14 years.

It's 50% of marriages, remember, not of married people. So if someone were to get married and divorced 10 times within a year, you'd need 10 couples staying together until death to compensate just for him.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:57:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely, if you stay married for 40 years until death and I marry 10 times for a duration of 4 years each...

80% of marriages end in divorce.
The average length of a marriage is 7 years.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a fat tail in the long duration. The median in your example is 4 years, the average 7. The point is that under the assumption that 50 % of marriages are not dissolved by divorce, the median is "'til death do us part."

But as pointed out upthread, the "50 % of marriages end in divorce" figure is a misunderstanding of demographic statistics so basic that a first-year economics undergrad would flunk his first exam if he made it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 7 years figure is even more wrong.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
VBO, this is advertisement! It doesn't prove your point, either: it just laments today's stepfamilies. How many children lived with a stepparent, relatives other than parents, foster parents, or other persons not the biological parents in 2012, 1992, 1972, 1952, and so on?

Do you want more fun looking for non-existent stats, or will you believe me that the numbers are not increasing (they are probably falling). Divorce is easier, but fewer parents die young. Fostering (both "official" and in the extended family) and adoption is decreasing.  

by Katrin on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:45:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would add that it is much, much better to be brought up by separated parents than by parents continuing a marriage that really does not work.

Make divorce very easy and not castigated at all. Actually, that should greatly reduce the occurence of failed marriage. Once you don't feel trapped in it, it's amazing how much more positively you'll see any situation in life.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The worst thing you can teach your children is that a dysfunctional relationship is normal. They will tend to reproduce that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:45:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you show them that one parent family is normal are they going to reproduce that too? I believe statistics will say : yes. Or if you show them that multiple marriages are normal...or that gay marriage is a norm  ...
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's one thing to show something is "normal" or "the norm" and a very different thing is to remove the stigma from it.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for children is to see their parents in a happy, stable relationship. Second-best is to see their parents happy, in short-term relationships or on their own. Worst thing is to see their parents in an unhappy, stable relationship.

It's important for children to have a good relationship with both their parents. This is often much easier after a divorce.

The question of step-parents often leads to conflict, but I don't see where it's harmful to children, unless there are problems of fairness (Cinderella style). Character-forming, certainly.

And if children see a parent in a gay relationship, they may be more likely to see gay marriage as a norm, for sure. (Got a problem with that?) But generally, young people are way ahead of their parents on that question, they are much more likely to see gay marriage as normal.

If your implicit question is : if they have gay parents, are they more likely to be gay? : then my opinion is no, and I think the science tends to support this. But if your question is : if a child turns out to be gay, and they see examples of happily-married gay people, are they more likely to form stable relationships? I think the answer is likely to be yes. And that's great.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All true, but something that I feel you miss is that children will find it immensely difficult to feel able to be loved as well.

They see what they think they call love as something painful, so that you live it only because you have to (they will probably like romantic period litterature best -I know I used to).
Then, their parents, constantly bitching at each other or outright fighting (even if just morally) will simply not show them much love, if any. The idea of being loved can become so foreign to them that they may not notice a hint dropped with a ton of bricks when their turn comes.

When parents get divorced they then break that cycle. Which might not mean they give up entirely: I know of several couples who got back together after a couple of decades. But then the children did not face the inferno for very long at all, and at the age when they were ready to start a serious relationship, they had a much more hopeful message.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That contains some very valuable insights for me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 06:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They see what they think they call love as something painful, so that you live it only because you have to (they will probably like romantic period litterature best -I know I used to).
Then, their parents, constantly bitching at each other or outright fighting (even if just morally) will simply not show them much love, if any. The idea of being loved can become so foreign to them that they may not notice a hint dropped with a ton of bricks when their turn comes.  

I can say I agree with this...
But I do not agree with
When parents get divorced they then break that cycle.

They do break cycle but what is alternative? What's there for children to be HAPPY about? Normally even if one parent finds ( or usually already found while being in marriage) someone to form new relationship and feel happy ( at least for a while) the other parent is 100% unhappy and depressed. So there is no chance that child will avoid to see one parent heartbroken. Usually even if that one parent is happy, that parent will be accused for unhappiness of another parent and unhappiness of child. Child will hardly really accept new, third person , partner of a happy parent , even when child is small and can't really understand what's going on. Still child can feel.With older kids it is practically the rule.
I do not say that there are not exceptions but I can say that I haven't seen them.

I know of several couples who got back together after a couple of decades.
 

Again good for them but at that point there is no more benefit for their child.Damage has been already done. Honestly I think that I would hate my parents if they do that to me.
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 07:50:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, my experiences and observations have been directly opposite of yours, vbo. My friends whose unhappy parents stayed together were really messed up by it. I know far too many people who were children of divorce and who had good relationships with their parents and their parents' new partners to think that the divorce was harmful.

I think your one large mistake your making is in thinking that ONE of the divorced parents is unhappy. Even when this is so, unhappiness is something a healthy person get over. Personally, my first husband and I were both happier to separate than to stay together and my daughter (who was just a toddler) had and has always had a great relationship with both of us.

Children who are exposed to unhappiness and fighting get damaged. Children who are spared that are much better off. I've seen it too often not to believe it, and as someone who was once in charge of enforcing child support orders for the District Attorney's office, I've seen LOTS of children of divorce.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2012 at 05:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would add that it is much, much better to be brought up by separated parents than by parents continuing a marriage that really does not work.

Make divorce very easy and not castigated at all. Actually, that should greatly reduce the occurence of failed marriage. Once you don't feel trapped in it, it's amazing how much more positively you'll see any situation in life.  

NOP...If it's so there wouldn't be even higher rate of divorces in second marriage...WHERE YOU WILL FEEL TRAPPED TOO.
And CHILDREN ARE SUFFERING when parents divorce...but hah yes people do not give a shit about children when THEY are not happy in marriage.
I can agree that divorce is better solution in marriage where there are violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
Not being happy in marriage is not an excuse to divorce if you have children. If you don;t have children feel free to divorce million times if you are masochist...

by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not being happy in marriage is not an excuse to divorce if you have children.

Having known people who chose both those alternatives, I must recommend divorce in the strongest possible terms, especially if you have children.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.
I thought the way I put it made it clear that I was speaking from personal experience, too.
Not as a parent, no.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as a parent, no.
----------------
As I said if you do not have children it is perfectly OK to divorce as many times as you wish.
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 03:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... As mot people on this site know, I am a father of two.
And I am not divorced, either.

I was referring to a personal experience between parents and children and said my experience was not as a parent. Maybe that was about my parents and I then?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK. I misunderstood. There are different situations and I do not know yours. You believe that you were happier after divorce which may easily be the case but I am curious what was your relationship with both your parents ( and their new partners) and thoughts after the divorce? If it is to personal I  apologize and you don't need to answer.
I had "near to divorce" experience with my parents when I was age 12. My mum left my father taking my brother and me with her. I will never forget that suffering. It did not matter that I was on my mum side and I blamed my father...I still missed him a lot.Later  when they reconcile there was no one on Earth happier then me.
It was a long ago and at that time my mum wouldn't even think of remarrying because of social stigma.Let alone bring a new man in to the children's life.My mum died young due to uremia.She was 39. My father was young and he entered de facto relationships staying with that women to the end of his life. It took me 6 years to even agree to meet that woman (I was already married with children). Never had any sympathy for that woman and never been close. In the end I was only grateful to her that she took care of my father when he was sick.But she also benefited of that relationship financially so I suppose it was OK that she took care of him. That's my experience.
Unfortunately it was nothing comparing to a suffering of my granddaughter today because my daughter is divorced.
Also I am seeing many more children around me today , suffering greatly because of divorce/separation. I am not just talking generally but from the experience.  
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks vbo, your post explains a lot. You tell about the hurt you felt as a child when your parents separated, and how relieved you were when they got back together. This helps to explain why you are so passionate in your beliefs. Sometimes we are so shaped by our own experiences and perspective, that it makes it hard to see other points of view.

While you don't go into detail, the circumstances surrounding your parents' separation must have been quite serious for you to have decided to "side" with your mother, and "blame" your father, whatever the reason. It's sad that a child age 12 feels the need to choose sides when it comes to their parents.

I am also sorry to learn that your mother died at such a young age. Losing one's mother is never an easy thing. I fail to see, however, how that would have affected your wanting to meet, or soured your feelings towards, your father's new partner. Referring to her as "that woman" makes it clear that for one reason or another you didn't care much for her from the beginning, and I am left wondering why. Did you not feel your father deserved happiness after your mother passed away?

It's also clear that you are disappointed about your own daughter's divorce, and that too is sad, but understandable. Without knowing the reasons involved here either, other than the fact that your granddaughter is suffering, I suspect that you feel that matters would be much better if your daughter had just stuck with it, tried harder, and kept the marriage together whatever the cost, for the benefit of your daughter. Is that right?

by sgr2 on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 05:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant to say, kept the marriage together for the sake of your "granddaughter."
by sgr2 on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 05:39:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Children are always in position to choose when parents separate/divorce...if not directly (to decide with whom they are going to live) then by having to take side (even if nobody ask them to). Yes you need two "for tango" so it's usually not the case that you can blame just one person for divorce but looking on the surface (and for children it is obvious even if they do not see it clearly) being unhappy in marriage one side usually enter an affair to help them leave the marriage not always the case but in most cases). The other side suffers and in front of children's eyes.So it's hard for children not to take side. Even tho children do not stop to love blamed parent.
"That women"(my fathers partner) entered relationship with my father while my mum being very sick was still alive. That made me even hate her at first stage when my mum died , but I wonder if that would be different even if she came to my fathers life after mum died. Did I want my father to be happy? I do not know if he was happy but fact that he stayed with her to the rest of his life tells me that he was comfortable in that relationship and after 6 years of rejection I started to accept that fact.I can't understand how anyone would expect child to be happy about parent's happiness with new partner having in mind that parents ruined that child's happiness...I was 18 at the time my mother die and fortunately did not have to deal with "that women" in my life , but younger children and especially adolescents are in for a more and less something like war...
I suspect that you feel that matters would be much better if your daughter had just stuck with it, tried harder, and kept the marriage together whatever the cost, for the benefit of your daughter. Is that right?  

Yes.Especially because almost 5 years after divorce I don't see that ANYONE is happy , not my daughter or her ex husband let alone my granddaughter. When they divorced my daughter told me that same sentence that you repeat here " Child can not be happy if parents are not happy". Now my daughter and her ex deserve what they have now but my granddaughter does not.
   
by vbo on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 09:23:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes life sucks. In the end we're all left to do the best we can with the situation at hand.

On the positive side, here's a chance for you to fill in the gap. I mean, that's what grandmothers are for after all. To fill the voids. To find the problem spots, and fill the need. There's lot of ways a loving grandmother can help to ease the suffering felt by a child going through a parents' split. Offering plenty of love. Lending a listening ear whenever she wants to talk about things. Showing empathy and concern for her feelings without putting either parent in a bad light.

I have no statistics to provide you, but I've often heard that children suffer because in their mind they blame themselves for the separation, wrongly thinking that it was something they did that caused it.

Children need to know that grownups have lots of issues between them that are hard to explain and difficult to understand. If you haven't done so already, I hope you can make this clear. The most important thing is for her to know that she is loved by both parents and that their separation had absolutely nothing to do with her. If you can do that, I'm betting with a little time she'll adjust just fine. Good luck to all concerned.

by sgr2 on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you!
by vbo on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... do NOT emit judgements about one or the other of the child's parents, in front of the child. Use your influence to stop parents bad-mouthing each other in front of the child.

In my own experience, manipulating children to take revenge on the ex-partner is one of the most harmful things you can do to a child. It seems to be very widespread, and not always done deliberately. Personally I don't like saying bad things about people, so I found it fairy easy to avoid this trap, but I was on the receiving end for quite a while (perhaps I still am, but the children are mature enough to discount it now)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 12th, 2012 at 10:07:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You believe that you were happier after divorce"

My parents did not get divorced, so I can't quite say that.
I also know that it was a conversation that I had with my father at age 6 that made them interrupt the process. I vividly remember this conversation -and also remember coming to regret having been so convincing later.
Both brothers were to have tremendous difficulties later on (and the third one, who was born later, also would when my parents tried to overcompensate, so he had the opposite problems in a way), which did include fully fledged depression with suicidal intent. In particular, my parents being in a failed relationship for far too long, we were never given any love (the only person to have shown any towards me as a child was my violin teacher -which actually is not ideal for learning sometimes).
So I could not even notice when a girl I was crazily in love with dropped a hint with a ton of bricks that she'd like to go out with me (though it did strike me as odd that she'd asked me to teach her chess when I had not noticed any interest in that from her before). Even as an adult I remain incapable of seducing (deliberaty, I mean). Not only in romantic situations by the way, also socially, professionally...

They're fine now (though that took many, many more years even after they decided against the divorce -at least 15 more), but they wrecked us. It would have been far better if they had got divorced, then probably got back together later on, after maturing.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 11th, 2012 at 04:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for sharing your personal story. I'm sorry you and your brothers had such a difficult time of it, but am pleased to hear everybody is doing fine now. It's probably not much of a consolation, but I suspect the unhappiness you endured back then has helped to make you a better husband and father now.
by sgr2 on Sun Nov 11th, 2012 at 02:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The story of the conversation with your father is very moving.

Without wanting to be unfair to your parents, it illustrates to me the major difficulty of modern parenthood : parents are too willing to demonstrate their love for their children by ceding to their childlike desires, rather than making the tough decisions required for their welfare.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 12th, 2012 at 10:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What? What childlike desires did they cede to repeatedly? Where did they try to demonstrate too much love when they never showed any -and my father acknowledged that he had not loved us as kids.
As for my mother, she could sometimes fail to speak (after a big argument) for what I remember as a whole week, but was probably only 2-3 days.

I don't see that they were too willing to demonstrate their love to their first two sons, no.

Or are you saying that many parents err in the opposite direction?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 14th, 2012 at 12:15:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If  read your account correctly (and eurogreen probably read it the same way), your parents ceded to your desires as a 6-year-old when interrupting the divorce.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 01:45:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, no, I did not show clear personal desires to which they ceded.
We talked about what he was going through. And I told my father that before he made a decision he should think about whether he would not miss us (mostly my brother and I, although also to an extent my mother, as I would have mentioned some things that went well) too much, whether that would not be worse than the problems they had.
And shortly afterwards, when his girlfriend looked a little less perfect than before, he reckoned that he would have some difficulties as well, and that if no couple was perfect, he might as well be in the one with his children.

My mother was not present at the discussion and it did not have a direct effect on her. She simply accepted when my father came back, having split with his girlfriend.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 02:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I guess I over-interpreted the very small amount of information you gave the first time around. Now, you make it sound like the roles were reversed : you were the adult, weighing the interests of everyone, and he was the child following his impulses.

I probably jumped the gun because I have lived that situation myself, and have no regrets about divorcing in spite of the fact that my children were very sad about it.

That doesn't change my two-bit pop psychology judgement a bit : parents need to make the decisions, preferably in the best interests of all, but certainly without offloading the responsibility onto their children! I find it appalling that your father should lead you to believe (whether it was true or not) that you were responsible for your parents not divorcing. That's an intolerable burden for a child to carry.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 11:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one of the problems is the mythology of perfect parents and perfectly happy marriages.

While I know a few people who married one of the first people they met at college and have stayed (more or less) happy with them for a couple of decades, the reality is that most people go through emotional carnage with their relationships sooner or later.

A surprising number seem to stay there permanently.

The idea that relationship problems are somehow exceptional and evidence of personal failure is immensely poisonous - as is the Cult of Marriage which suggests that adult relationships are always fluffy and largely friction-free, and anything else is a shameful disaster.

It would be far more useful for kids to see examples of unromanticised but functional adult relationships than it is for them to be pressured into expecting perfection from themselves or from their parents.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 14th, 2012 at 12:34:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, that's at least two no sequiturs.

If they feel trapped too, we can't infer anything from the .
Clearly, there is a composition bias. Those who would divorce under no circumstances are never part of the second sample, for instance.

But anyway, divorce numbers are irrelevant there. I spoke of reducing the instance of failed marriages. Hint: a marriage does not need to end in a divorce to have failed...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"from the progression". A word was missing.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hint: a marriage does not need to end in a divorce to have failed...  

Truth...

by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 03:47:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not being happy in marriage is not an excuse to divorce if you have children.

It appears that you don't know how children in unhappy marriages feel. Unhappy parents make unhappy children.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:21:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Children have an astounding capacity for adaptation, and for being happy in the most appalling of circumstances. Unhappy parents can raise happy children, if they both take care to protect them from the fallout. It is even possible that children may suffer more, in the short term, from the separation of their parents than from living with unhappy parents.

The long term is a whole nother story. Like the catholics say, you shouldn't lie to children; unless you want them to grow up as hypocrites.

There is a whole spectrum of choices between running away at the first sign of trouble and sticking together no matter what. The choice is rarely obvious or easy to make. Economic circumstances rear their ugly head, in general.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unhappy parents can raise happy children, if they both take care to protect them from the fallout.

Yes, that's possible (and I suspect it was even the norm in times when arranged marriages were the norm), but parents often assume that children don't notice when they do.

Like the catholics say, you shouldn't lie to children; unless you want them to grow up as hypocrites.

Another possibility is for the child to 'rebel' at an earlier age and protect itself by creating an emotional distance from the parents. Whether that's good or bad on the long term, I don't know.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another possibility is for the child to 'rebel' at an earlier age and protect itself by creating an emotional distance from the parents.  

I agree.
But observing the world ( and probably looking at the statistics that I have no will to do now) most of the rebels are children from those divorced families...
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:02:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All children who manage to grow up 'rebel' at one time. Those who 'rebel' at an earlier age are most likely associated with one or another form of losing family relations. I doubt suitable statistics even exist for this, but your impression that the most correlated factor is divorce of marriages doesn't match mine. Even in divorces, you seem to be assuming that the problem for the child is the divorce itself, rather than the time before the divorce or the lack of support from society for a divorced parent who has to struggle to make ends meet.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not see "rebellion" ( and we are talking serious stuff here like when they ruin their lives going in to the crime, drugs. alcohol etc.) as a matter of economics. It doesn't matter that parent is poor...but it does matter if parent is changing multiple partners after divorce which is usually case...or even if the parent remarry and they have to deal with stepparent specially in adolescence,  or if the parent is depressed which is usually case, or if they lose one parent from their lives which is usually case after some time...Those are complications that will leave deep scars and lower or ruin their self-esteem. Not that self esteem can't be ruined in a bad marriage but or that one parent ( or both) even being divorced can't build child's self esteem but I am talking about majority of the cases.
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience has been that the kids I had to worry about my daughter "running" with (and she DIDN'T duplicate their behavior, thank goodness) were the rich ones with married parents; those are the kids who gave the parties where liquor and drugs were prevalent and risky behavior was worshiped.

My daughter also has a WONDERFUL stepmother, and my second husband and myself have a lovely relationship with my ex and with her, visiting in each other's homes.

It took years for my second husband, because of resistance by his ex (he left after years of castigation and her telling him she never loved him) but I worked hard at it and finally achieved relationships for him and myself with his children AND WITH HIS EX that are kind and loving and supportive. I am NOT a fan of people who can't admit their mistakes and move past them to a place of love, but I'll work like an immigrant to get them there.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 01:26:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.divorcerate.org/divorce-rates-in-canada.html

One year after separation or divorce, 50% of children of divorced or separated families never see their fathers again.  

This makes me cry...

by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:10:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those divorcerate sites you are referring to are not serious sources. Stop crying.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WHY you consider them not serious?
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 07:53:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they are run by (or at least get their supposed data from) the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostalist ie extreme religious movement.

See the reply I gave to your question below.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 08:07:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think about the words "one year" and "never" in that sentence.

Yes, the period immediately after a divorce can be tough, economically in particular. But I would be very surprised if 50% of divorced Canadian men never see their children again.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a whole spectrum of choices between running away at the first sign of trouble and sticking together no matter what.

I agree.
I would even consider that, having in mind that "Children have an astounding capacity for adaptation", children can be happy at least in a long run after divorce of parents if I saw enough parents that are happy after divorce.  
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being in a marriage for 37 years I can tell you from my personal experience that there are periods in every marriage when one of the spouses or even both feel unhappy. It is life.But in most cases things can change and improve if spouses do not give up. One can't expect to be constantly happy in anything let alone the marriage/relationship. I do not want to generalize because as I said there are marriages where there is violence , drug and alcohol abuse , where children are safer if people divorce. But they are not that many , I assume...Unfortunately I can tell first hand how children are suffering when parents separate or divorce...and kids take consequences for all their life. It is selfish to simply give up. In many of those cases in next relationship after initial honeymoon same unhappiness will occur...manly because person is not mature enough to understand how this works. They may repeat their struggle for "eternal happiness" many times and they can feel free to do so as far as I am concerned. Some of them may even find it but one person that will definitely be unhappy all trough his youth and bare scars for all his life is a child. That's how I see it based on my own and my life experience.      
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:49:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but not "statistically significant".

It's fine to tell people not to give up. Even the most successful marriages have rough patches. But once one or both of the spouses has given up, then it's time to move on. Otherwise you're locking in the unhappiness for everyone concerned.

And often, the "maturity" question works differently : you can find yourself in a marriage based on an "immature" choice of partner, then find that one or both partners have grown up and need to move on. Many many examples of friends who were unhappy in a first marriage and find true lasting happiness with a second partner.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can tell you from my personal experience that there are periods in every marriage when one of the spouses or even both feel unhappy.It is life.But in most cases things can change and improve if spouses do not give up. One can't expect to be constantly happy in anything

Please don't 'debate' strawmen and don't patronise: no one on this board is an inexperienced and blind 14-year-old who'd have that illusion about relationships. If we disagree, then on the frequency of cases when the recipe of not giving up won't improve affairs, and when it is even relevant.

I said there are marriages where there is violence , drug and alcohol abuse , where children are safer if people divorce. But they are not that many , I assume

First, why do you assume so? Second, don't just think of physical abuse: psychological abuse can be more frequent and just as bad if not worse. Third, there are the cases when one partner has "given up", and there is nothing to be saved by the other's "not giving up". Fourth, there are the cases when one partner still wants to continue but won't cooperate in seeking any improvement (typically, when s/he wants to dominate).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not patronizing and I do not think you people are immature, I am just talking about my own experience.
I agree that things are complicated and various examples are at the field so I am not trying to put everyone in the same basket.
But I can not stand when people in self defense deny that there are serious consequences of divorce for children.
People are asking for their rights to divorce and to continue looking for their happiness...
Who is protecting children's right to have family, to have their parents in their lives ?
All I do is trying to do that...
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My professional experience in dealing on a daily basis for years with divorcing couples with children compels me to tell you that the easy cases are the ones where one of the parents are violent, drunkards or druggies. The children can easily see what the big problem is and are happy to get away from it.

When the problem is less visible, such as: terrible immaturity, one partner being denied a fulfilling life, partners realizing the awful truth of their lack of common purposes and beliefs about what life is about, etc. -- the children tend to blame themselves. That is my experience. And immaturity or selfishness can cause parents to use the children to hurt each other, whether they remain married or not. This is terrible for the kids.  

But my main problem with your posts is the length of time you attribute to the pain, especially that of the adults. IF the adults are so bitter and self-centered that they choose (and I believe it IS a choice) to wallow in their pain and to hold a grudge and to cling to their bitterness like a life raft, then they need professional help, because this is a mental illness. One can recover from the death of a spouse with more dignity. My parents' divorce was horribly painful for me, and I was already out of law school when it happened, and I had never seen them have an argument in my life. But it was for the best, for both of them. Their goals were too dissimilar after decades of growing and changing. Were I to think that one's youthful decisions were uncorrectable (the choice of a life partner at age 20, for instance) I would imagine a hell with no escape. One isn't stuck with one's choice of residence, career, or even hobbies for life, and it makes no more sense to me to be kept in a prison of a bad choice in a partner. Love and guiding attention keep children safe and happy, not intact marriages, in my personal and professional opinion.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 01:50:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But my main problem with your posts is the length of time you attribute to the pain, especially that of the adults.

I don't remember attributing a length of time to the pain, so is this perhaps directed at vbo rather than me? (Though I'm not sure where vbo attributed a length of time, either.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 10:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought I'd write up the (anonymised) stories of divorces of people I knew well enough (among relatives, friends, colleagues). All six of them involved children, all of them involved a period when one or both parents stuck on still hoping for things to improve, in most cases thinking for the children, and in all cases the only result was that the divorce only got uglier for both the parents and the children.

  1. A man already divorced with two (then) small children married a woman half a generation younger. The relationship turned bad by the time the children were about 10, but the couple maintained a cold marriage for the children: the husband would return home late, go on separate holidays and not come to family get-togethers. Five years later, the husband's first wife died and her two children temporarily moved in. The new wife felt that the husband leaves her alone taking care for all four of his children, and one day threw him out. She was definitely happier thereafter, but even before the divorce, one of her own children developed a coldness in both family and love relationships similar to his father's. The other child was momma's boy and became a cheerful grown-up.

  2. A husband of a dominant wife and father of two young children started an affair with a woman (herself married with children). Pressed by the wife to make a choice, he decided to move away with the entire family to escape his lover. The desperate lover, however, had her own entire family move to the same place. The first family then moved a second time, but the father immediately returned to his lover, married her (after the divorce of both), adopted her children and had more children, and this couple has been happily together as those children grew up. The abandoned first wife, however, has an unabated hate for her ex-husband, which she tried to instil into her children, who had it hard in school. Those children in turn made a secret pact to not hate their father, but once grown up, one of them (who was a troubled teen) broke off contact with the father after a conflict with one of the children in the father's new marriage.

  3. The wife of a husband who travels a lot felt neglected and became a serious alcoholic. By the time the children were in their teens, the alcoholism became so bad that she turned a danger to herself and her children, and the husband divorced her and got custody of the children. The father later married a woman only 5-10 years older than his children, but they have a good relationship. The children were in their twenties when the mother had a deadly accident when drunk. One of the children, a heavy drinker, then got off alcohol but got on religion, and in the process got the idea that his own father's drinking habits were the root cause of both his and his mother's misfortune and broke off all contact with him. The other child kept contact with both of them.

  4. Both the husband and the wife made careers, but the husband grew envious of the wife's success. By the time the children were in their teens, the husband developed paranoid theories and constantly castigated the mother in front of the children. The mother developed beaten wife syndrome. This escalated into who blinks first and takes the blame for divorce, the husband did, but then the – by then adult – children convinced them to try again. It was soon worse than before, however, with the husband stopping to talk to the wife and the wife losing her job. After a few years of this, the husband again blinked first and divorced, marrying a divorced woman shortly after. Both parents largely recovered, but it took years for the mother and the father still creeps her out. The children tried to shut off during the two run-ups to divorce, since then maintain contact with both parents separately, and try to avoid the parents' fate in relationships at all costs in their own special ways.

  5. The wife is extremely ambitious and exploitative, the husband is extremely unambitious and lazy. These characteristics led to nasty conflicts in the wider family that hit back at their children, but in the marriage, the father's nature prevented an escalation until the children were in their early teens. Then the wife finally lost patience and threw out the husband, and kept most of the family's belongings. One of the children stayed with the father who re-married, the second followed too after a fight with the mother, the third meets them in secret more than the mother would allow. The parents' character faults blossom further, while the children mix the two.

  6. Pampered sole son of rich parents married the highschool beauty after the relationship lasted through college too. After the children have been born, the husband grew unsatisfied with his simple job and with his home where for the mother the children are first rather than him. He quit his job, tried to become politician or writer but failed, got his parents to blame the wife for everything, and disappeared for long periods of time and then returned expecting an apology from the wife. The image-conscious wife kept up outward appearances, also for the children, and maintained the family and paid a high debt as the sole earner. The children still weren't school-age when the still jobless husband's erratic behaviour spiralled out of control to the point that he threw the wife and children out of the family home, while his parents tried to get the children's custody.

So I say kids suffer most before the parents separate or divorce, especially when a parent doesn't 'give up' when it is too late and falsely believes that this is the children's best interest, and children can (but don't always) take consequences of this for all their life. Furthermore, when children are impacted by what happens after a divorce, it's often inseparable from the cause of the divorce (maintaining the broken marriage wouldn't necessarily have prevented the same result).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 01:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I can say is :Thank you for these stories...
They are actually proving my point. Irresponsible parents and kids suffering...
Here is just one forum have some stories...

http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Children-Of-Divorced-Parents/forum

by vbo on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 07:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think all the children mentioned above would have been better off if their parents had stayed together?

You're entitled to your opinion of course. But it's a strange opinion.

But if you just mean "parents should strive to be better people for the sake of the children", well fine, but that has nothing to do with divorcing or not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 07:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think all the children mentioned above would have been better off if their parents had stayed together?

No , I don't think so and I think I made my point earlier. Not every marriage is better then divorce.
I am talking about responsibilities. When people marry they make commitment to try their best to make relationship work. Nowadays that commitment I would say does not mean much. If they have no children they may decide more easily to brake that commitment. It's OK.
But when they DECIDE to have children they made commitment to these children too. Again people put their own un/happiness as a priority not really taking their children happiness in to the " math". Higher divorce rate for me is a sign that people today generally speaking do not try hard enough to save their marriages/ or de facto relationships.Again not all of them. I am not saying this because I was a perfect spouse or parent so I am preaching now to others. Not at all. I did face same dilemmas as everybody else. I was selfish at some points as everybody else...but being older now I really do see children as a priority and big reason for people to do their best ( at some personal cost usually) to make those children happy.Because those children did not ask to be born...it was our decision and with that decision comes responsibility.
There is no bloody way that children will no suffer greatly when parents divorce/separate...and I feel for them.
There are definitely cases where children are better of with divorce from the point of society . Measuring pain and degree of suffer is not our business. It may be a business of psychologists and psychiatrists...Maybe...    
by vbo on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 06:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
By the way, your link reminds me to stress another point of yours contradicted by my case studies: by far not all children of divorced parents (or orphaned children for that matter) take consequences for all their life. But your link self-selects the problem cases.

With that said, have a look at some of the posts. You'll find more stories supporting my contention that the biggest problem for children is often not what came after the divorce but what preceded it. Like the girl who can't stand her father for reasons she discovers made her mother leave without her. Or the adult daughter of a loveless marriage in which the father ruined wife and older sister. Or the one who says flat-out that his parents should have divorced earlier.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 08:22:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well not all children feel this way vbo. I remember once asking my father, in all earnest, if he couldn't just get rid of the mommy we had and get us a new one. He replied gently, but firmly, that no that wasn't going to happen. Shortly thereafter, my life spun out of control. So there's another perspective for you.
by sgr2 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not know your circumstances and as I said I am not putting everyone in the same basket. Maybe your life was better after divorce. Truth is that hectic situation in one dysfunctional family will do the damage equal as divorce if it continues for prolonged period, for child. So in these cases it is a choice between two bad situations. Children do need peace in their lives but they usually do not get it after divorce...    
by vbo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:53:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Children do need peace in their lives but they usually do not get it after divorce...

Again, what do you base this claim on, other than church propaganda? And more to the point, what makes you think that a child that doesn't get peace in his/her life after divorce would have gotten it in a continued broken marriage?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 01:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. And is a 'natural' childlike desire for homeostasis the best learning situation for future survival?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 01:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess we need to rewrite the fairy tales.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 02:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is homeostasis imposed by the parents and thus essentially totalitarian? :-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 03:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the best learning situations for future survival is spending time in solitary confinement. But I wouldn't recommend it for everybody.
by sgr2 on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 01:00:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh stop it with "church" stuff. I am hardly that religious to even know and be interested in church dogma...I explained this before about my religious feelings and church as institution . It has nothing to do with church or otherwise I would be against de facto relationships which I am not.
I base my claims on my experience and observation of the world around me.
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As others have said, children are resilient. They are adaptable and can thrive under the most adverse of circumstances. Whether it's one parent, two parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, gay parents, whatever, what children need most is unconditional love.

And BTW to clarify, my parents never did divorce. Their marriage was solid as a rock. It was only me the child that was miserable. When  I commented that as a child I had ask my father if he couldn't get me another mother because I didn't like the one I had, it was because I was exasperated by my mother's constant raging. Had someone explained to me that she she couldn't control her actions because of some type of mental illness she suffered from, I most likely wouldn't have spent so many years blaming her, nor would I chosen to rebel. I think my rebellion resulted from a combination of feeling unwanted by my mother and a total lack of understanding of her condition.

So yes, I agree with you that life is complicated and divorce is not always the answer. OTOH if the parents can't get along for whatever reason, it's much better for them to split and get on with their lives rather than making life miserable for the children.

by sgr2 on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:38:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand.
What you do not understand is that not only that there are not guaranties that child will not be miserable after parents divorce and " get on with their lives" but just opposite...in most cases it means that they will be even more miserable. At the time of my childhood divorce was rear thing (at least in Serbia but also elsewhere at least to some point). Those mums who divorced would rarely even introduce another man in to their children's lives let alone remarry in fear that it will  damage their children.Now it's not the case.Chances are that today children will face multiple partners of BOTH their parents being introduced to them.I remember I read somewhere how one girl said that after the divorce , the thing that had most negative impact on her was just this...mum introducing multiple partners. She lived with mum. It is usually convenient for dads that their children usually live with mums ( all tho this is changing too)so they did not have to show all their partners to kids and they look better in the eyes of kids.  
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The more people one has an opportunity to meet, the broader their horizons can become. I would think this would be true for children too. So I really don't see your point.
by sgr2 on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 05:26:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are sooo wrong on this one.Sooo wrong when it comes to children. As for mum I believe it's also not the case because failing in more relationships/de facto relationships just give more pain...
This is not about "meeting" people and broadening horizons ( it is tru when it comes to friends)...these are sexual relationships that affect children hard...
by vbo on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 09:30:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look here, I wasn't suggesting that it was a good idea to have sexual relations in front of children with every bozo you meet. If that's what a person is interested in, and they have children, there are always backseats or motels.

OTOH if you are planning to enter into a meaningful relationship with someone, I should think that your selection of a partner would be based on qualities and characteristics that you would find admirable, and because of your high standards for a mate, you would have no problem introducing this person to your children. That's what I meant.

by sgr2 on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 07:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes that would be OK but in reality it's a little bit different. Lonely women tend to try hard to find right one after divorce/separation. Even if they find someone who would fit those standard, that man may not be ready to commit having in mind that there are children involved.
I am not saying that they would have sex in front of their children but usually they will introduce the man thinking that that is the ONE, they tend to start to live together pretty soon, children may even like him and then he goes away. Children would emotionally attach themselves and then they suffer all over again. That's from what I have read on this forums where they explain their pain being a children of divorced/separated parents.
Your scenario would be perfect one. Reality usually is not perfect. And even with a perfect stepfather/stepmother children would still miss their original family.
When I ask my now 11 year old granddaughter how she is going with stepmother ( partner of her father) she said : I avoid her.And that women is really not bad toward my granddaughter...
by vbo on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:53:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep this in mind about such forums: they CAN be gathering places for whiners. I don't say this in a mean-spirited way, but as an honest caution.

Naturally, people who did just fine following their parents' divorce (me, my daughter, my siblings, friends of mine, children of friends of mine) don't go to these forums, so you see ONLY those who feel short-changed by life and think of themselves as victims.

It bothers me how often you refer to families no longer having full contact, but I have seen MANY situations in which divorce did not mean a loss of family, but rather an increase in family. A stepparent often means additional siblings, grandparents, etc. My step-grandson thinks of my husband and myself as grandparents just as fully as any other grandparent he has, and my daughter's favorite grandparent was the mother of her step-mother, a woman I loved as well. My dad explained to me once, when I expressed just a bit of jealousy at how much my daughter loved her step-grandmother, that love is not a pie. You don't have just so many pieces to serve. Love is infinite and you can love as many people as there are to love and love them hugely without running out of love to give. This made beautiful sense to me, so I loved the step-grandmother even more for the love and time she gave to my daughter.

I think your most important point is that adults need to act responsibly. Don't parade your "auditioning" partners to your children, don't have your serious arguments in the presence of the kids, explain things to children and encourage their questions, etc. Love and nourish your children, treat them with respect. Behave with maturity and kindness. Everything else is extraneous (what job you have, whether you're divorced, where you live...). Your concern for children is admirable whether I agree with your feelings about divorce or not.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 02:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Over 50% of US families are remarried or re-coupled.

vs.

One out of two marriages ends in divorce.
    75% remarry

Now this is a clear contradiction.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not if re-coupled dwarf remarried.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hint : not all families contain a married couple.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:28:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I realise I'm not sure what meaning of "re-coupled" and "family" the linked site uses... though this seems to be the main factor I didn't account for:

-1/3 of all children entering stepfamilies were born to an unmarried mother rather than having divorced parents(National Survey of Families and Households)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
75% of those who divorce remarry.
About 75 % of those in second marriage divorce again.Third marriage even worse...
by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 06:56:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now where have you found those stats?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found it on Internet...It is not exact number here but ...:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
    The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
    The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%  

   

by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by vbo on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The numbers cited by that webpage aren't sourced to some official statistics but to the magazine of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, and even that without a specific reference (e.g. page/isssue); hardly a source I trust. In the official Census source found by eurogreen upthread, you'll find that 42.5/67.0 = 63.4% of men who married are still in their first marriage, 9.0/(11.6+3.1) = 61% of men who married twice or more are still in their second marriage, and 2.3/3.1 = 74% have married three times or more and are still maried; the same numbers for women are 55.8%, 52% and 59% (Table 6, page 16). Although these numbers include not just the divorced but the widowed, too, the trend claimed by source is not at all visible. Divorce rates are actually declining in the newer generations (compare numbers according to age cohorts in Table 2, page 6). Also, the average duration of the second marriage of twice-divorced is the same (for women) or a little longer (for men) than the durtion of first marriage for the at least once divorced (Table 8, page 18).

The origin of the notion that second and third marriages fail more frequently seems to be a crude mis-reading of statistics (see for example here): divorce and marriage rates per 1000 people per year are divided, ignoring changes in time. (The key change here is the decline in the marriage rate.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:23:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article The Myth of the High Rate of Divorce by marital affairs psychologist Kalman M. Heller, Ph.D., has some further interesting details. He emphasizes the role of the parents' economic situation (poor women divorce more), the mothers' education level (less for more educated women) and the age at marriage (the divorce rate is the higher the younger one marries, whether it's first or second marriage).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never had a particularly high opinion of Dr. Heller's trade, but, the amount of web pages in Google searches in which his colleagues quote the 50-60-73% figures without checking a proper source and then offering explanations and possible remedies is sobering.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The numbers cited by that webpage aren't sourced to some official statistics but to the magazine of The General Council of the Assemblies of God,

Where did you find this? Please direct me.
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:00:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Information on Divorce Rate and Statistics

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:

  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

They certainly don't make "enrichment journal" stand out, and they don't offer a link to it (only to other sites run by the same set-up).

If you Google "enrichment journal" you will find (here) that it is a publication of the Assemblies of God, a Christian Fundamentalist Pentecostal movement.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 04:53:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/health/19divo.html
I do not really see the big difference if divorce rate is 41 % or 51%. It's too much. Not to mention that there is decline in marriages because more and more people decide to be de facto  and that do not stop them to have kids. As I said before I do not care if they are married or de facto ... if they stay together and raise kids together.
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 08:17:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may not see a difference, and your point of view is that it's "too much". Other people differ.

But at least you could try to avoid backing your ideas up using religious propaganda sites.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 09:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had no idea it has any connection with religious sites...but that's why I have you people to detect anything religious and discard it as false :)
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 09:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that it is religious propaganda only explains the practical deficiency: it is an assembly of badly sourced data (and we showed upthread how some of it is a clear mis-interpretation of actual data). The lesson from this for you should be to not rely on and to not trust at face value radom data you find somewhere on the web, but seek sources as close to the origin as possible. Data copy-and-pasted or (worse) paraphrased all across the web is not different from rumours spreading via barber shops and marketplaces, and then anyone can collect such "sources" supporting their preconceptions. It shouldn't be our job to check your sources.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 02:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On de facto relationships

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/shacking-up-for-the-future-20100721-10khn.html

https:/www.cis.org.au/media-information/opinion-pieces/article/56-rarely-a-case-of-happy-ever-after

https:/www.cis.org.au/media-information/opinion-pieces/article/56-rarely-a-case-of-happy-ever-after

We know from surveys (in the absence of official statistics) that de facto relationships break up much more frequently than formal marriages. But because these break-ups are not officially registered as divorces, the rate of break-up of the `socially married' is not represented in the ABS figures. If they were, the rate of separation of the socially married would be higher than the formal divorce statistics.
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You surely noticed that both these are opinion pieces from writers with a conservative point of view?

You may agree with that point of view, but other people have theirs.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 02:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conservative views based on reality does not have to necessary be wrong...
by vbo on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 03:37:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying they're necessarily wrong.

But to what extent they are "based on reality" is at question. For example, the quote you posted from the second piece sounds very "science-based" but isn't really if you look at it. There are no references to the "surveys" or to who carried them out. And there's no explanation of what definitions of "de facto" relationships are being used.

In fact there's a whole range of types of relationship where unmarried couples live together, from casual to confirmed to preparation for marriage to pre-marriage with children to long-term commitment without marriage. Attempting to compare break-ups across such a wide range of relationships with marital break-ups is unlikely to give dependable results.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 04:23:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes de-facto relationships probably do break up more often then formal marriages. After all de-facto relationships tends to come first, and only if it looks like it will work people marry.

But if we limit our interest to couples with children, the Swedish study I previously linked gives about the same rate of sticking together ten years afer birth of first common child those that married first and then lived together and those that first had a de-facto relationship - 70%. Highest sticking together rate was found among those that first lived together, then got a child and then got married - 88%, narrowly beating those that first lived together, then married and then got a child - 83%. This indicates that those that do marry in a social context where de-facto relationships are acceptable are among those with stabler relationships in the first place. So it is not the marriage that increases the sticking together rate, but the sticking together likelihood that determines marriages.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 06:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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