Parental Purgatory

A true story of a child in the middle of divorce.

A+broken+heart+symbolized+a+broken+family+and+a+broken+child+in+the+midst+of+divorce.+
A broken heart symbolized a broken family and a broken child in the midst of divorce.

A broken heart symbolized a broken family and a broken child in the midst of divorce.

Major, Gwendolyn

Major, Gwendolyn

A broken heart symbolized a broken family and a broken child in the midst of divorce.


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Being a child stuck in the middle of two constantly battling parents is one of the hardest things a student can go through. Child support, step family, personal space, scheduling, travel, responsibilities, and guilt. Everything that ties into divorce is a struggle, yet we overcome.

“A smooth sea does not make a skillful sailor.” -African Proverb. This quote kept me motivated to persevere through my struggles with my parents divorce. To me, this quote means that a difficult path makes for a stronger person.  

STEP MONSTERS

Step family can be one of the hardest things about divorce. In my experience, stepfamilies are a piece of work. It feels like your mom or dad is bringing home this stranger and says, “Congrats! This is your new parent!” They also come with four children, a set of grandparents, and fifteen cousins. Oh, and don’t forget the cat you’re allergic to. Not to mention, your special birthday tradition that’s just you and your dad, is now you, your dad, his wife, the four kids, and all the other family members they decide to bring with them. I don’t know about you, but it feels like all I got was socks… bummer.

SCHEDULING

A child of divorce has a crazy calendar. Being a full time student, athlete, and having a part time job or activity you are committed to, makes juggling a busy schedule pretty difficult. It gets even harder when you incorporate not being able to drive, and parent schedules.

Say you have soccer and your mom is supposed to take you to practice on the other side of town, but she gets called into work at the hospital. So you call your dad to take you, but since it’s not his weekend, he made plans with his partner and they’re at a movie. Now what? You call everyone you know, or you start walking. Scheduling a weekly or monthly calendar is difficult, but holidays are even worse. Around Christmas time, the schedules fill up faster and faster. There’s always this argument of who gets the kid on Christmas. The excuse is always, “Well you got them last year.” Parents don’t even consider what their child wants and how they feel about the situation.

Being a product of divorce is just letting each parent drag you in opposite directions. You can scream, you can cry, you can kick and punch, but nothing will do the trick. They’re the adults, they’ve waited their entire life to make the decisions, and they will. Pray that your arms don’t get ripped off in the process.

TRAVEL

For some, traveling from one house to another isn’t a big deal. However, for others, it’s the biggest deal.

Personally, I travel five hours in a cramped vehicle. Airline tickets are more expensive, but travel time is cut in half. However, traveling alone is terrifying, yet, so many children do it. Most often however, parents are stuck paying for the gas to meet in the middle, or one drives the whole distance to the other. With gas as high as three dollars, the cost of a trip can be pretty expensive. Don’t forget the suitcases! Traveling with a van full of luggage for a week long trip at your moms house may seem excessive, but it’s not. Fitting every article of clothing, makeup, videogames, shower accessories, shoes, jewelry, basketballs, phone chargers, and tablets is a difficult task. It takes me three suitcases and a duffel bag to get to my mother’s for Christmas break.

Tip: Bring an empty bag with you to carry Christmas presents or souvenirs back. Just in case.

COMMUNICATION

Parents that don’t communicate with each other makes life a lot more stressful for the child. It becomes the child’s responsibility to communicate schedules back and forth and this sometimes creates arguments. The parents then argue through the child, and they often shoot the messenger. When parents don’t communicate with each other, the child is thrown into the middle, and is forced to be the adult in the situation. Witnessing a loss of love in a child’s home makes them wary of love in the future.

GUILT

Parents who guilt trip their children are the worst. Making a child feel awful for the things an ex spouse has done is inconsiderate, and can deteriorate the relationship you have with a child. Divorce is not, and will never be, the child’s fault. A divorce is caused by the lack of trust, stability, or the loss of love for another person. Do not give in to the idea that the separation of your parents is your fault, because it isn’t.

Ultimately, divorce is hard, but it can greatly benefit you and your family.

Talk to your parents about how you’re feeling. Parents, talk to your children about how you are feeling, and why this decision has to be made. Be open minded and accept that you may have to live with a situation you don’t like. If you’re able to keep the conversation going there is hope for a successful divorce.

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” Robert Brault said.

 

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