Children & Divorce: Parenting Response on Ask the Rabbi
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Children & Divorce

Back in the old days many couples stayed together “for the sake of the children.” Am I correct that this reason has no validity in our 21st century lives?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

In the 1970s, Judith Wallerstein’s best-seller The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce contended that children really aren't as “resilient" as once thought, and that divorce can present children with a lifetime of emotional struggle. Here are three cardinal rules for making divorce less stressful for children, and reducing the chances of long-term trauma:

• Assure the children that the divorce is not their fault, and that there is nothing they could have done to prevent the family unit from breaking apart.

• Do not put a child in the middle of the parental dispute, nor create a situation where the child has to choose one parent over the other.

• A child benefits from a strong relationship with both parents. Do not try to minimize the time the child spends with the other parent, and do not speak badly about the other parent.

An excellent book on this topic is Gary Neuman’s Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way. Over 20,000 children have taken part in the half-day Sandcastles workshop, which is now mandatory in certain regions of the United States.

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