"What is Truly Best?"
Our generation sees divorce as the first resort, not the last. At one point in time, a married couple having problems in their marriage would choose to stay together for no other reason than because it might "hurt the children." Today, children are insignificant and are often dealt with like any other asset in a divorce. You might expect to hear one parent say to the other, "All right, you get the kids, but I get that couch and matching chair we bought last year!"
Parents who decide to go through a divorce think they are doing what is best for their children and themselves. They assume their kids will have no problem bouncing back to a healthy and happy life. Our current society in general also has this idea, but psychologist Judith Wallerstein would say differently. She reports that "too often children of divorce pay for their parents' breakup for years to come in both psychological and economical ways."
Wallerstein is one of the nation's leading experts on divorce, so she should know. For over 25 years now, she has been following a group of 131 children whose parents split up. Wallerstein makes another conclusion, besides children's long-term prospects that follow divorce: "Children don't need their parents to like each other. They don't even need them to be especially civil. They need them to stay
together, for better or worse. Physical abuse, substance addiction and other severe pathologies cannot be tolerated in any home. Absent these, however, a lousy marriage, at least where the children's welfare is concerned, beats a great divorce" (Biography p.79).
Yet our generation as a whole does not seem to share her opinion. A Time/CNN poll was taken in the year 2000, where they asked the following questions: Do you agree...