We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce

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9780060193058: We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce

What is the real legacy of divorce? Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author of the highly praised The Good Divorce, decided to find out by expanding her landmark study to include in-depth interviews with 173 grown children whose divorcing parents she interviewed twenty years earlier. What she has learned is both heartening and significant.

In We're Still Family, Ahrons challenges the myth that children of divorce are troubled, drug abusing, academically challenged, and unable to form adult relationships. Instead she provides new evidence that the legacy of divorce is not as devastating as some researchers have suggested. Major findings show that:

  • Most of these young adults emerged stronger and wiser in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- their parents' divorces and remarriages.

  • The majority were very clear that their parents' divorce had positive outcomes, not only for their parents but for themselves as well.

  • More than half felt that their relationships with their fathers actually improved after the divorce.

  • While their new families of stepparents and half-siblings may look different from other families, the majority of these young adults feel connected to the family members who make up their world.

Divorce is never easy for any family, but it does not have to destroy children's lives or lead to family breakdown. By listening to the voices of these grown children, divorcing parents will learn what they can do to maintain family bonds. They will find helpful road maps identifying both the benefits and the harms to children postdivorce. Parents need to be comforted by the truth about divorce and not threatened by alarming misinformation and overblown worst-case scenarios. And they need to believe that after all is said and done, their children will look at their post divorce families and say with conviction, "We're still family."

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About the Author:

Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author of The Good Divorce and co-author of Divorced Families, is professor emerita from the Department of Sociology and former director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Training Program at the University of Southern California. A senior scholar and founding co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, she is an internationally renowned lecturer, consultant, and workshop leader. Dr. Ahrons is director of Divorce and Remarriage Consulting Associates in San Diego, California.

Review:

“A more nuanced picture of divorce, one that defies sound-bite conclusions.... Constance Ahrons is generous, wise and pragmatic.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Here is the REAL story of divorce for today’s rearranged families.” (Vicki Lansky, author of Divorce Book for Parents and It's Not Your Fault, KoKo Bear)

“With clarity and compassion, Dr. Ahrons presents solid research that gives us answers to the questions plaguing families and clinicians!” (Lois Braverman, President, American Family Therapy Academy and author of Women, Feminism, and Family Therapy)

“An astounding accomplishment! Filled with insights and advice....If you want the best for your children, read this book.” (Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex)

“Engaging, eminently readable...an important piece of social history that will be consulted by scholars for many years to come.” (Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap)

“Ahrons, one of this country’s foremost authorities, offers sound advice about how divorcing couples can promote their children’s well-being.” (Steven Mintz, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History, University of Houston and author of Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life)

“With her long-term unbiased research, Ahrons shows that children can grow up secure and loved by both parents.” (Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Full Circles, Overlapping Lives)

“Required reading for those contemplating or recently or long-divorced; adult children; clergy, mental health practitioners, teachers and policy-makers.” (Evan Imber-Black, Ph.D. , Editor, Family Process and Director of the Center for Families and Health, Ackerman Institute for the Family)

”Insightful, wise and honest, this longitudinal study is an important addition to our understanding the family after divorce.” (Warren Farrell, Ph.D., author of Father and Child Reunion and Why Men Are the Way They Are)

“The voices of grown children are compelling,! Filled with practical advice for helping two household families tap into unanticipated strengths. (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger)

“Without the usual stereotypes or biases, Ahrons documents the complexities of divorced families...and tells what works and what doesn’t.” (Pauline Boss, Professor, University of Minnesota and author of Ambiguous Loss)

“This book should be required reading for all divorcing and divorced parents and the professionals who work with them.” (Isolina Ricci, Ph.D., author, Mom's House, Dad's House)

“More prescriptive than descriptive, Ahrons’s supportive guidebook should aid anyone trying to make a ‘good divorce’ better.” (Publishers Weekly)

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