A Book Review of “Divorce: The Art of Screwing Up Your Children” by Howard Drutman, Ph.D.
Dr. Drutman’s sardonic new book, “Divorce: The Art of Screwing Up Your Children” is a “how to” book for parents who have become so embroiled in the battle with their children’s other parent that they also have become blind to how that battle is screwing up their children. The book also is for parents who are self-aware enough to want to make sure that they do not screw up their children. Dr. Drutman, a psychologist in suburban Atlanta who specializes in clinical psychology and forensic psychology in family law cases, draws upon his real life experiences to create examples of the best way to harm your children during and after a divorce.
Relationships are important. Role modeling healthy relationships for your children is equally as important. No parent wants his or her child to grow up lonely because the child has no idea what a good relationship looks like, let alone how to achieve one. The take away of Dr. Drutman’s book is that a parent may very well doom his or her child to a life where the child is unable to sustain a healthy relationship because of how his parents treated each other during and after divorce.
As Dr. Drutman says in the book’s Afterward, “[u]nrelenting parental conflict is the greatest source of emotional pain for children of divorce and the number one factor that impacts their wellbeing.” The book lays out exactly how a parent can increase the conflict and never let it subside, then in short parentheticals, explains how and why high conflict behaviors are harmful to your children. Your child will be angry, unable to trust, and, because of the poor relationship role modeling, lonely.
With sections entitled ‘Always Win, Don’t Give In’, ‘Be Selfish’, and ‘Litigate Over And Over Again’, Dr. Drutman gives solid, one line advice that is expounded upon in each section with concise examples using simple terms. For example, ‘Always Win, Don’t Give In’ also could be an underlying theme of the behaviors described that will surely result in screwing up your children. In the ‘Litigate Over and Over Again’ section, Dr. Drutman says, tongue-in-cheek, of course, that “[l]itigation is costly and time-consuming, and, therefore, it is the best way to exact your revenge…force her to spend every cent of her retirement savings paying lawyers to defend her case.” Then Dr. Drutman succinctly describes what the result will be to the children: “[t]hey [the children] are dragged back into the middle of their parents’ conflict, and they have to re-experience the same negative thoughts and feelings that they did during the original divorce litigation. With repeat litigation, the children re-experience this stress over and over again…. Additionally, your children will model your behavior learning to be unforgiving and vindictive…”
Any parent who is involved in a bitter divorce, or has not emotionally recovered from the divorce, and who is interested in his or her child’s well-being should read this book. Then read it again. If you love your children, read this book. Read the Disclaimer carefully too.
The attorneys at Richardson Bloom & Lines LLC help parents avoid the behaviors that screw up their children. Copies of Dr. Drutman’ book will be available upon request for the firm’s clients.