The Reality of Having Divorced Parents

When I was ten my parents first started showing signs of their impending divorce. My dad moved into an apartment and my mom would always go out with friends at night. It wasn’t until many months after, when my parents divorced was finalized, that my mom would sit my siblings and me down and have a conversation with us about it. My dad, later on, would move in with my soon to be stepmom and stepbrother. I remember feeling so awkward over the fact they would spend the night at our house months prior; I didn’t want things to change. I slowly started to feel like I was losing my dad to a whole other family – a memory that forever haunts my soul and brings forth tear-stained cheeks and a hurting heart.

According to an article by The New York Times titled, “Poll Says Even Quiet Divorces Affects Children’s Paths,” “Even in a ‘good divorce,’ in which parents amicably minimize their conflicts, children of divorce inhabit a more difficult emotional landscape than those in intact families, according to a new survey of 1,500 people ages 18 to 35.” 

Within the years that my parents have been divorced, I have dealt with so much emotional trauma. There’s a very distinct memory I have of a talk I had with my dad about how I was feeling during the early stages of my parents’ divorce. I was in my moms’ room and he’d came into the house because I was upset and didn’t want to go outside even though we had to go to his house because it was his weekend. And I just remember that feeling in my chest and stomach, that feeling you get when something hurts so much; I’d told him I felt like I’d lost him. All these new things happening so fast and all little me wanted was for herself and her little brother to spend some time with their dad. This was my reality; a broken twelve year old was my reality.

And I’m not the only one. I can’t even fathom the countless children going through the same things as me or even worse. I can’t imagine the toll it is going to take on my younger brother who was only six or seven at the time. He is still growing and forming thoughts on his own; he’s still a kid. 

An article by the La Times titled, “Broken homes, broken boys” explains, “Autor and Wasserman cite a large study by University of Chicago sociologists Marianne Bertrand and Jessica Pan, which shows that, by fifth grade, fatherless boys were more disruptive than peers from two-parent families, and by eighth grade, they had a substantially greater likelihood of getting suspended. And justice experts have long known that juvenile facilities and adult jails overflow with sons from broken families.” 

Who knows what the future holds in store for my brother and kids just like him. What will my brother’s reality be?

Here’s the truth, some of us with divorced parents may get two birthdays, two Christmas ’, two thanksgivings, etc. But there’s so much that goes on beneath the surface. All I’m trying to say is the next time you come across someone with divorced parents, or you may already know people, don’t underestimate or undermine the struggle. Everyone has their depths, so don’t just stick around in the shallow end; you never know what you’ll learn about someone if you just swim out with them to the deep end. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll look back and acknowledge that you stood and took the time to listen and they’ll be thankful. I know I will.