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Paperback Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part Book

ISBN: 067465577X

ISBN13: 9780674655775

Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In spite of the upset children experience after parental separation, Furstenberg and Cherlin find that most children adapt successfully as long as their mother does reasonably well financially and psychologically, and as long as conflict between parents is low. The casualty of divorce is usually the declining relationship between fathers and their children.

Customer Reviews

1 rating

Readable and Relevant

Academics have a reputation for writing wonk-style texts that seem to value incomprehensibility over communication. Not so with this book, which reads with the smooth flow one might expect in a well-written feature story. One of the most interesting points of the book is a repudiation of the current popular idea that divorce itself is destroying children, pointing out that divorce is not an isolated event. Instead, the book examines the process of divorce: even if the parents don't make a legal split, much of the damage to kids is in the high conflict between parents. If the parents do divorce, it's what occurs before and after that affects families more that the moment of the marriage's legal dissolution. The book also addresses class issues, presenting a divorce case typical of many families in America--a family concerned with getting by on a blue/pink collar income, not with reading sociology books. The authors also address the role fathers play in intact families and trace the extension of that role to the divorced dad, profiling a composite man who relates to his children through his wife when they remain married and who has trouble building a separate father-identity once the mother is no longer his intermediary. The book points out that this role is changing--albeit slowly--especially in segments of the middle class, but divorce policy issues must address what is typical rather than what is ideal, and for now the burdens of divorce fall disproportionately on mothers. The final chapter on policy gives much fodder for more study. Overall, this is a thought-provoking and readable exploration of what will certainly remain a major, if unfortunate, component of American family life.
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