NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: In the area of children of divorce, there are few people who have been as influential as Judith Wallerstein. Her groundbreaking study and work has paved the way for those of us who work with children of divorce. Ms. Wallerstein passed away last week at the age of 90. Though she is now gone, her work and her influence will live on – hopefully sparking others to carry the mantle for children of divorce. One of our regular contributors – Linda Ranson Jacobs – was fortunate enough to interact with Ms. Wallerstein when she was developing the Divorce Care 4 Kids program. In this article she recounts those interactions and reflects on the contribution and legacy of Ms. Wallerstein.
The Work and Influence of Judith Wallerstein
Through her research, reporting and personal understanding and care, Judith Wallerstein probably changed the face of the child of divorce more than anyone in this generation. As many of you know, she began talking to and following 131 children whose parents were all going through a divorce. From her research and communication with those 131 children she wrote three important books.
After the first five years she wrote, “Surviving The Breakup: How Children And Parents Cope With Divorce”. “Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce” came after fifteen years and “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study” came after her study with the original 131 children after twenty-five years. After those books she complied all of her information from her research and wrote what was to me the most dynamic book of all, “What About the Kids?”