While the statistics on how many marriage end in divorce are often inflated (especially for Christians), there is no way to overestimate the effects it has on the children of divorce. While one or both parties in the marriage are hurt through the divorce the children are hurt the worst. The parents have the power of choice in their hands and the children are, in a very real sense, powerless victims of that choice.
Too often in the discussion of how to help children of divorce the focus is on how these children can be healed by intervening in their lives through social, educational and psychological help. According to Andrew Root this is fatally flawed and very short sighted. In his book The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being, Root persuasively argues that divorce rips through the soul of a child and has its greatest damage on their being.
Root argues that the identity of a person is shaped by the community in which they grow up in. The family unit (made of father and mother) is the foundational community (the community within community) in which a child’s identity is shaped. When that biological community is torn apart so is the child’s identity. The result is that the children of divorce experience a true identity crisis. Root states: