Recently, I finished reading For Better Or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered by E. Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly. I am such a freaking nerd about this stuff! I’m supposed to be reading some sort of juicy fiction in my spare time… but no, here I am filling my mind with literature which chronicles a 20-year study on My Favorite Topic.
So… for other nerds out there who like scientific-study-type-stuff, this is a great read. Ms. Hetherington studied divorced families for a full twenty years post-paperwork and her findings were quite interesting. She used various methods to gather information: interviews, journals, tests etc. And she found a variety of outcomes for the parents as well as the children who came from “broken homes”.
The book details the many factors which can influence an individual: a support system, educational opportunities, individual attitudes, assistance resources, authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, school districts- and more. In the end, Ms. Hetherington was able to segment the individuals according to how far they’d come and how satisfied they were with their lives. She wrote about the different paths people took, the effects of new partners and the ultimate outcome of the children (really, it wasn’t too bad 🙂 ). And through it all, she kept it interesting by telling data-supporting stories about her subjects.
I’d suggest this piece for anyone facing a divorce and concerned about the possible negative effects- it’s full of great insights. But… like I said, it’s rooted in fact-finding. There is no emotional hand-holding-through-a-difficult-time component. Therefore, for someone facing a divorce and wrestling with surging emotional currents… it might be a little tough to plod through.