Judith Wallerstein was the first divorce researcher I read who helped me make sense of what my children were experiencing due to their parent' s divorce. Like many parents I assumed if I was OK, my children would be OK. My children taught me that their emotional well-being, in that particular situation was not tied to mine.
During her research on children and divorce Wallerstein found that many of the children were extremely distressed soon after their parent's divorce and half of those children were still suffering 10 to 15 years post divorce. Many believe that she was anti-divorce but in reality, she was pro-child and parents taking into consideration the needs of their children should they divorce.
Judith Hannah Saretsky was born in New York City on Dec. 27, 1921. Her interest in children and loss grew from her own early life. Her father, a director of Jewish community centers, died of cancer when she was 8. She had not known he was ill, little was explained, and it took her a long time to believe he had died. The painful memories heightened her awareness of the bonds between parents and children, and she later saw herself in some of her research subjects.
She will be missed and, I hope her research will continue to inspire other divorce professionals to put children and their needs first when parents divorce.