We have the highest divorce rate on the planet. Judith Wallerstein did a groundbreaking study on the effects of divorce on children, even into adulthood. She notes the following effects on children:
The children Wallerstein studied were more likely to struggle with drugs, alcohol, and sex. Fully half the children she studied were involved in serious abuse of alcohol and drugs, some as early as age 14. And they tended to become sexually active early, particularly the girls.
• Expectations of failure, based on an “internalized image of failure;”
• Fear of loss, due to earlier anxiety about abandonment by one or both parents;
• Fear of change, since experience has shown them it is usually for the worse;
• Fear of conflict, because it leads to explosions or the impulse to escape;
• Fear of betrayal, because they have seen so much of it;
• Fear of loneliness, sometimes leading to self-destructive choices in partners.
Naturally, we want to protect our kids from divorce so people attempt to resolve their problems by going to a marriage counselor. The dirty little secret in the industry is that you are likely to be worse instead of better after going to a marriage counselor. Here are some reasons why.
1. Marriage counselors have a horrendous 75% failure rate. That is defined as couples coming to them for counseling to save their marriage and get divorced in spite of the counseling.
2. Marriage counselors are not required to have any specific training in couples counseling, some of the most difficult counseling that there is.
3. Marriage counselors don’t really deal with problem resolution, they talk about feelings. This is about as effective as a reporter shoving a mic in front of a grieving relative and asking them how they feel.
4. Marriage counseling takes place one hour once a week. This is not effective. No other helping discipline works this way. If you went to a doctor to find that you have strep throat, you would not expect a doctor to give you just a little antibiotic and have him come back for months giving you just a little more antibiotic to cure the strep.
5. The reason that most couples divorce is the lack of conflict resolution skills. Traditional marriage counselors don’t teach this vital skill.
6. Too often marriage counselors are not marriage positive but take sides with one of the couple and suggest that they go ahead and get divorced. They don’t tell them about all the negative ramifications to children that the divorce will cause them.
The answer is to search out marriage coaches. Marriage coaches deal with resolving problems in a short period of time. They are marriage positive. They tend to take a moderator or mediator role assuming an authority role and telling couples where they are doing it right or wrong. Marriage coaches have a much better success rate of 75%.
Many traditional marriage counselors are abandoning traditional counseling methods and instead are adopting a coaching paradigm in their practices. People like Michelle Weiner Davis of Divorce Busting and Dr. Harley of His Needs, Her Needs.
You can punch marriage coaches into Google to locate one. They will deal with you on the phone or on Yahoo IM. Barring that you could just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .