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Women's Health

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Kyra Sedgwick on Work, Family, and Empty Nests

The actress opens up about her long marriage, life as a working mom, and her new movie, 'The Possession.'

Kyra Sedgwick's Turbulent Childhood continued...

"But it took years later until I let myself have the feelings and know how deeply I was affected by the divorce of my parents. When I did realize it, I thought, 'I will never do that! I'm so grateful this will never happen to my kids.'  I don't think I would have stayed in a desperately unhappy marriage, but divorce was something I would have avoided at almost all costs. But I didn't have to. It was easy. I'm lucky. I couldn't be happier, really."

"When I first had my kids, I thought, 'I really wish I was the person who could be happy and fulfilled only being a mom.' But that's not me," she says.

Helping Children Through Divorce

Perhaps no one in the United States knows more about adult children of divorce and how they approach their own relationships than Judith Wallerstein, PhD, a psychologist and former senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. Wallerstein's groundbreaking 25-year study tracked more than 100 children from the time their parents separated (the youngest child was 3 at the time) into young adulthood.

Most of these young people want to make sure they don't make the mistakes their parents made. "They tend to do it carefully, and they want their children to have everything they didn't have," says Wallerstein, who chronicled her findings in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-Year Landmark Study. "They say over and over again, 'I don't want my son or my daughter to have the childhood I had.'"

Wallerstein, also the author of What About the Kids? Raising Your Children Before, During, and After Divorce, often advises adult children of divorce how to build healthy relationships of their own.

Don't sweep it under the rug. Talk about the sometimes-forbidden topic of why the divorce happened. "Go back to your parents and ask why. 'Why did you divorce? Looking back, do you think it was a good reason?'" Wallerstein says. "Children of divorce rarely feel they have permission to ask those questions, but this is exactly what they have a right to know."

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