Building Bridges

Background (continued)

What can friends, family members, and professionals do for divorcing families?
The current high and stable rates of divorce are a result of widespread and profound societal, economic, and cultural changes in the past century, and they can be expected to continue into the foreseeable future (29). Divorce is "no longer a badge of immorality and failure" (30). We are learning what makes it possible to reduce the harmful effects of divorce on children, and, indeed, what makes it possible for "a substantial minority of adults and children (to) emerge as psychologically enhanced and exceptionally competent and fulfilled individuals" (31). And we are learning what we can do to help.

Our contact with members of divorced or divorcing families provides us with opportunities to protect the child from harm, to help the child and family cope with current life events, and to facilitate healthy growth and development of all family members. In so doing, we can enhance the quality of parenting and family functioning, and thus the short term and long-term well-being of the child.

8. It is appropriate for friends, family members, and professionals to engage, with care and compassion, in which of these activities?

a. protecting the child from harm, by reducing conflict
b. helping the child and family deal with current life events, by helping them in their dealing with loss
c. promoting the child's healthy growth and development, by contributing to the quality of parenting and family functioning
d. all of the above

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