This post by Jennifer Johnson, of the Ruth Institute, was originally published at One Peter Five on February 9, 2016.
Will you please tell book publishers to stop publishing books about “two homes” for children of divorce? Every time I see one, I want to scream. I know those authors and publishers think they are performing a needed service, but in reality they are whitewashing an extremely painful experience that never ends. Please tell me You understand what I’m saying because it seems to confuse everybody else.
Let me explain. Take this quote, from I Am Living in Two Homes, by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones: “It’s a grownup choice, through no fault of your own. Your dad and I are happier in two different homes.” Notice the word “choice.” It reminds me of “pro-choice.” “Choice” has been awfully hard on recent generations, Lord, don’t You agree?
Who is weaker, Lord: children or adults? I always thought children were weaker, but this book makes me feel like I was supposed be the strong one and sacrifice my happiness for the sake of my parents’ happiness. Isn’t that backwards, Lord? It seems like the older generations had a lot more family unity than more recent ones. Looking back, you can see that their parents sacrificed their “choices” in favor of their children. You can keep reading at the Ruth Institute’s Ruth Refuge, which also has available a pamphlet entitled “Children and Divorce.” The Sexual Revolution has taught us that “kids are resilient,” and that adults are entitled to have the lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience. That pamphlet contains quotes from children of divorce and lists all the negative side effects of divorce that children often experience. Possibly the most important question a lawyer can ask his or her client seeking a divorce is “If you knew these harms would likely come to your children, would you still get divorced, or would you do what you could to work things out with your spouse?”
Lawyers and clients in troubled marriages can learn how Understanding Realistic Reconciliation in an Age of Divorce can make a difference for those who understand the realities of divorce.
Family restoration requires adults to take responsibility for what is best for children, and maybe even to consider working at saving a marriage – because that might just be what a child needs. Rather than putting a child through a family breakup, lawyers can help clients fully and comprehensively think through the effects of a marriage dissolution on every family member.
That’s what we do at Regent University School of Law.