Separating siblings during a divorce

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Separating siblings during a divorce

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It is too much to say that the sibling bond is indestructible, but it does a remarkable job of surviving divorce and surviving physical separation. In fact, some of the studies have shown that when you talk to siblings who are very, very close later in life, were asked if there was a pivotal moment that brought them to that indestructibly together; often they will say it was because of a divorce. When there has been a divorce, kids tend to draw much closer together. This can even often be the case when kids are in separate homes. I experienced this myself. After my parents were divorced, my brother went off to New York while we still lived in Baltimore at the time. We actually found no strains, no breaking of the fraternal bonds among us. They simply stayed the same. In some ways, we got stronger because we made an effort to stay in touch. The sibling bonds themselves stay intact, but that doesn't mean that the parents aren't doing damage by separating their kids. Remember, when parents get divorced, the two main anchors in the child's lives have become unmoored. That's the reason kids hang on to each other. They are life buoys at that point. When you pull them apart, that is only going to give them a greater sense of dislocation and separation. It is critical that they be kept together. If at all possible, they should stay together in the family home and the parents should move in and out as they share custody.

Watch Jeffrey Kluger's video on Separating siblings during a divorce...

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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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