The statistics of divorce only tell one side of the story. As staggering as they are, these statistics do tell a truth. The truth is that in during 1990 alone, 26% of all children under 18 years of age lived with a divorced parent (Behrman 5). The truth is that of all the children born in the U.S. today, 30% of them are not part of a family with a mother and father married to one another (Dreher 6). Divorce has changed the structure of the American family dramatically. Estimates today show us that 50% of all first time marriages will end in divorce (Hickey 2). Do couples today choose not to marry because they are afraid of becoming a national statistic? Some research would indicate that many couples do lean toward a live-in relationship rather than marriage. The young woman who wrote to Linda Bird Francke just prior to her wedding can sum up statements like this one. Ms. Francke is the author of Growing Up Divorced. The twenty-year-old woman writes, "I pray that my marriage will work even though my sister just got divorced and I worry about my lack of adequate role models- (Francke 19).
The other side of the story is the one that parents almost nearly never listen to. It's the story about divorce from their children. Why is it that they don't pay more attention to what their children are feeling during their divorces? Children are very confused about divorce and need to be reassured that they are not the cause of the breakup (Sunshine 90). Many children, especially young children, are asking themselves questions like, "What is going to happen to me after the divorce?- "Is Daddy taking his television?- These are just a few of the questions that children have about divorce but are reluctant to talk to their parents about.
Judith Wallerstein is a national authority on divorce and families. Ms. Wallerstein, who has studied divorce for nearly twenty years, says "Time does not heal all wounds for children of divorce- (3).