First Third Conversations

Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce


Elizabeth Marquardt invites us into the strange and complicated experience of traveling between two homes, two parents and two families as a result of divorce. Marquardt asserts that couples are responsible for navigating the differences of their worlds and the conflict that comes when the rough edges of those worlds begin to come up against one another. However, when parents are divorced, this navigation of these conflicts becomes the job of the children.This happens when each parent has different rules at each house or when on parent expresses a different set of values or morals than the other. Children then become different people in different situations depending on which parent is present. It causes even more internal confusion when both parents are present at an event. Having both parents present, the child doesn't know how to act to align with each parent's expectations.

Marquardt is the Director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values in New York City. She regularly blogs here about issues relevant to love, marriage, and families in all their various forms.

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