Over the last 50 years we have intentionally changed childhood in America. We did it with our eyes wide-open but our hearts squeezed shut. We pay lip service to beliefs about how childhood and families should be that our actions long ago discarded. By denying our new reality, we avoid doing the hard work required to change how we parent and we fail our children. It is time to stop stigmatizing divorce and create a new parenting culture consistent with our children’s real lives.
According to the most frequently cited statistics, the U.S. divorce rate increased from about 13% in 1960 to about 50% in 2014. There is debate among social scientists about the percentages but the sea change is real. Exact percentages are less important than the reality the statistics represent: the majority of our children
live under or between two roofs. It is time we embrace the reality of our new normal and allow our children to thrive with parents apart.
Discard these false assumptions:
- Divorce means you lose your family.
- Divorce means you failed.
- Divorce means parents hate one another.
- Divorce means you will not have what you need.
Teach each other and our children how to thrive by acknowledging what is normal today:
- Some families live together and some families live apart.
- Families are forever and parents never stop loving their children – one roof or two.
- Good parents parent when and where their children need them to parent.
- Good parents take care of their children and support each other – together or apart.
Divorce doesn’t destroy families. Bad parenting destroys families. What matters is the love and respect in families – not the number of houses. Our children deserve to be at home always and everywhere. We have the keys, we must find the courage.