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Divorce affects children, regardless of parent’s wealth

Divorce affects children, regardless of parent’s wealth

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In a world where nearly everything is available at a push of a button, and the ability to critique and inject opinion is almost invited and, sadly, expected, is it a wonder that when Jeff Bezos and his wife acknowledged a separation and eventual divorce, the internet was abuzz, blaming one thing or another, and speculating on the cost of what will likely be one of the largest monetary divorces ever? However, what was interesting was almost the complete absence of talk about the couple’s four children and the whirlwind that they are likely going through.

Statistics show that nearly half of American children will witness their parents divorcing. The end of a marriage can interfere with effective parenting, depriving children of nurturing from parents who may be temporarily preoccupied with their own personal situation. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos may be preoccupied with the news cycle speculating on why their marriage is over and opinions on the outcome.

Research suggests that divorce can weaken the relationship between children and parents and often leads to destructive ways of handling conflict. Children of divorce are more likely to drop out of school, get into trouble with the law, abuse drugs or alcohol and exhibit emotional distress compared with children who grow up with both biological parents in the home. Money is not a factor.

The truth is that the hill such children will have to climb just got a little steeper. It is a climbable hill, but everyone needs support along the way — even children of the richest man in the world. Family, friends, teachers and counselors can help. No one should feel ashamed for seeking good mental health services.

Scott Myers • Maplewood

CEO, Kids in the Middle

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