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does divorce really screw up kids? - Page 3

post #41 of 160
Thread Starter 
We're pretty low-conflict but just not happy (ok, mainly I'm not happy.) But I think divorce would still come as a surprise to the kids because they don't see us fight very often.

Dh is a good father. He'd still be involved in their lives and would split the costs of what he could, but the realities are that, if we're paying for two places, there will be less money to go around for other things.

And I worry about what Arduinna mentioned..........the kids' ability to feel safe in the world. I think my 13 yo. dd would be fine, but it's my 8 yo. ds I really worry about. He's such a sensitive soul. He cried when his "team" lost in the World Cup.
post #42 of 160
I think there is no question that the adjustment would be hard on them, but I don't think they are any more at risk for not feeling safe in the world, having a good sense of self or making long-lasting commitments because of it. Plenty of people whose parents didn't divorce have those issues and vice versa. Witnessing one parent disrespect the other is more damaging, imo, even if there aren't a lot of scary fights going on.
post #43 of 160
My parents divorced when I was three. My mother finally found out that my father was molesting my older sister. She had put up with 15 years of severe emotional, verbal, and occasionally physical abuse towards her and my older siblings. Apparently sexual abuse was over her personal line. I don't think the divorce is what screwed me up. I think that every other factor in my craptastic childhood is what screwed me up.

My husband comes from an 'intact' family. His parents knew one another in high school and married during college (they both went away to the same school and decided that they liked that home-town kid better than anyone else). My husband's mom is very verbally and emotionally abusive towards her kids and in the past she was physically abusive towards her husband. Her husband has never left her because he's afraid she would get full custody and then he wouldn't be there to protect the kids and because "you get married for better or for worse--no one is promising better". My husband didn't have 1/10 of the crap in his childhood that I had--he's not quite but almost as screwed up as me.

So... yeah. I'm still going to say that parenting is the important bit.
post #44 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
I think there is no question that the adjustment would be hard on them, but I don't think they are any more at risk for not feeling safe in the world, having a good sense of self or making long-lasting commitments because of it. Plenty of people whose parents didn't divorce have those issues and vice versa. Witnessing one parent disrespect the other is more damaging, imo, even if there aren't a lot of scary fights going on.
Of course plenty of people have those issues even they don't have divorced parents. That is because divorce is not the only thing that can cause them. That doesn't change the fact that divorce can result in them also.
post #45 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Of course plenty of people have those issues even they don't have divorced parents. That is because divorce is not the only thing that can cause them. That doesn't change the fact that divorce can result in them also.
Well maybe if someone just gets divorced on a whim, but many women who consider divorce are in bad marriages. I can't see how staying would decrease those risks or how leaving would increase them.
post #46 of 160
I have to admit that I'd completely forgotten about the widespread decline in financial stabililty after a divorce. My mom ended up in more-or-less the same place when dad was gone, as she lost both his salary and his spending habits. (None of that was really relevant to me, as I was paying room and board and planning my own wedding. It would have sucked if she'd lost the house, but it wasn't like a child losing everything, yk?) As for me...I was so much better off financially once my ex left that there was just no comparison. He spent way more than he earned, told me that he'd bills he hadn't paid, etc. Our lives were much more financially stable without him around.

That is a serious concern, if you have a husband who is actually a net contributor. I always forget about that.
post #47 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
How are we defining ok?

Because most of the time IME the ok is defined as the kids not turning into a ax murderer or living their whole adulthood in their mothers basement. When ok should include such things as having a healthy sense of self, feeling safe in the world and able to make long lasting commitments to other people. Those are the things that are at risk as a result of divorce.

I think it is really important for children to have a mother and father that live together while growing up but those parents need to be mature enough to not inflict their relationship struggles ( we all have them at some point) on their children. It should never come down to a choice of kids living with parents that are always fighting in front of them vs living apart. There are cases where kids will be better off without one of their parents living in the home, but whatever has caused that situation to come to pass is going to effect them in some way.
Wow. I think that having 2 parents who are able to parent is MUCH more important than whether or not those parents actually live together. If I had stayed with my ex, I would NOT be able to parent effectively - b/c he was abusive. My child should grow up with both me and his dad in the picture, and with 2 parents who love him - I agree wholeheartedly. BUT - the big but here is that I should not be subject to abuse to live up to some Idealist notion. My son should be raised by a happy mom, and a happy dad. Now, thats impossible anyway, since his dad suffers chronic depression, body dysmorphic disorder, and possibly some other mental illnesses. BUT - he needs to have AT LEAST one parent who is stable, happy, and able to provide him with a happy stable home - neither of us could have done that if I was still living with his abuse.

I also think that kids pick up on relationship unhappiness - no matter how much the parents try to hide it. And if a parent is deeply unhappy (not having had a minor fight, but deeply unhappy all the time) kids are going to know about it - you can't hide that much emotion. Kids need to see that their parents have the right to be happy - b/c otherwise when they end up in a situation where they aren't happy as adults they won't know they deserve otherwise.

I don't think that divorce is the cause of so many of kids problems, I think parenting is. If you are able to parent effectively, then your kids will most likely turn out to be productive, happy individuals that are able to contribute to society. If a kid has 2 parents who are able to parent effectively, they will be more likely to become productive members of today's society.
post #48 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
We're pretty low-conflict but just not happy (ok, mainly I'm not happy.) But I think divorce would still come as a surprise to the kids because they don't see us fight very often.

Dh is a good father. He'd still be involved in their lives and would split the costs of what he could, but the realities are that, if we're paying for two places, there will be less money to go around for other things.

And I worry about what Arduinna mentioned..........the kids' ability to feel safe in the world. I think my 13 yo. dd would be fine, but it's my 8 yo. ds I really worry about. He's such a sensitive soul. He cried when his "team" lost in the World Cup.
I don't think you're giving your 8yo enough credit here (maybe that didn't come out just right, but bear with me). He was probably sad when his team lost, and he will most likely be sad if you get a divorce. BUT - as long as both you and your dh are able to honestly tell him, "We love you, we are both here for you no matter what, and we are going to do the best we can by you" he will be ok. Be prepared for extra snuggles, be prepared for him to be upset, angry, sad, etc (same for the 13yo actually), be prepared for them to ask if it was their fault, reassure them it wasn't. Tell them what happened - don't lie to them - they'll know if you do.

Also, it might not come as big a shock as you think. Even if you don't fight, if you don't communicate they see that too. If you aren't happy together, they probably have some idea something isn't right.
post #49 of 160
Didn't read anything but the OP. My parents got divorced when my brother and I were 4 and 6, I think. It seriously was the best thing my mom could have done. It did the opposite of screw me up. My brother had/has a harder time with it.
My dad was abusive to my mom (but kept it mostly hidden from us), didn't work a lot (and spent a lot of money), and just generally made my mom's life more difficult. He loved us and showed it, and was caring to us, but was not the kind of dad you'd really want to leave your kids with all day- just your basic irresponsible stuff, kwim?
Though, thinking about it a bit more, most of the problems that my brother has, has to do with drugs, and my dad started smoking weed with him when he was relatively young (18ish, maybe younger). Also, part of the problems that he had when we were younger was that my dad favored me, and it was pretty obvious.

So I think that sometimes divorce is the best thing that can happen, and it does not always screw kids up.

eta- I should also add that I saw a huge benefit to myself in regards to their divorce. My dad was the one that punished us (spanking and standing in the corner) and my mom very rarely punished us. My first thought, I remember vividly, when my mom told me they were divorcing was that we wouldn't get punished anymore.
post #50 of 160
I think if my DH and I were to get divorced - it would screw my son up. Ds2 is only 11 weeks old - so I don't think he would know any different! lol

At the moment - it sorta feels like DH and I are 'coexisting'. Things happened pretty fast for us. Mostly, DS1. I think we would have more of a 'relationship' to fall back on if we had had more time to ourselves to build that relationship. But we fell into being parents pretty soon. I basically found out I was pregnant a month after we got married. Neither of us would change a thing of course and now we have two beautiful boys but our marriage is not without flaw. The 'D' word has been thrown around a few times. Of course, things are tought after having a baby so that could just be it really.

I just could never see me getting divorced. Even if we do just 'coexist' for the rest of ours lives. DS1 adores his father. He loves waving to him in the morning when his car pulls away for work. He waits anxiously for him when he comes home from work. He looks forward to the weekend when we can go out and do fun things together! I can just picture what a divorce would do to him. How on earth would I explain it to him as well? I can see him growing up with insecurity issues because of it. I can see him having love and relatonship issues as well because of it. I can then also see him blaming me and hating me because of it! I just can't see how it would be good for him! But then, whilst DH and I arn't as close as I would like us to be - right now - our children are not also in a home full of hate or violence or anger or anything like that. So being here, with us, together - as a family - isn't 'damaging' him - as much as I feel a divorce would. If that were the case though - I can only see a divorce as a good thing - and 'staying' as what would screw him up. (but thats not our case)

Quote:
I believe that children and adults suffer consequences in divorce. This, however, is not a simple topic to post about and/or make generalizations about.
This exactly!

What I just posted are what my current thoughts for my family have been - cause things have been a bit rocky the past few days!
post #51 of 160
From my experience, it's the circumstances of divorce that do, not divorce itself-parents talking bad about each other, abuse situations, parents getting new families and the older kids feeling displaced in their roles, using kids against parents, changes in living situation-secure to a parent working all the time to make ends meet while the kid watches the opposite parent be well off and moving on, etc. Not all divorcees do this, but it seems pretty common in my personal experience.
post #52 of 160
who knows? my parents *didn't* divorce, and I feel like I'm mildly screwed up. I feel it would have been worse if they split, but who knows?
post #53 of 160
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
who knows? my parents *didn't* divorce, and I feel like I'm mildly screwed up.
me, too.
post #54 of 160
My parents separated when I was 8 and divorced when I was 10. They had a high conflict relationship. Given the chance, I would have sold my soul to get them back together. Divorce equalled the end of my childhood. I felt as though I was an instant adult even though I did not at all understand the emotional landscape.

I'm not a proponent of staying together no matter what. I've supported friends through divorces. And I know there are lots of people (most of the people in this thread, even) who feel they were better off for their parents divorce. Objectively, I probably WAS better off - I wouldn't want my kids living through that kind of conflict. But it broke my heart and made me feel very alone and abandoned in the world. That view has informed how I deal with issues in my own marriage for sure.
post #55 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
It really does depend on the parents and the divorce.

Yep, I was a little screwed up in HS because of my parents divorce, BUT that was because my Dad replaced my mom and me with a new family. He and his wife had twins and I basically got pushed out of his life by them. My parents being married wasn't that awesome though, they had me when they were too young and we always trying to figure out their own lives to put me first. My Dad was a great father and my mom was kinda self-absorbed, in her own weird way.

It was better they got divorced, but my stepmom made my relationship with my Dad pretty crappy, until about 4.5 years ago when I got pg with my DD, then things changed and are really good now.
post #56 of 160

I was ready to say yes but...

previous posters bring up a good point, my parents screwed me up (not incredibly bad but in bothersome ways) not the divorce. My mom talked bad about my dad. My dad did not have a good foundation for parenting, so did his best, which was not great. I felt abandoned by him. He always said he was pushed away, which is partly true. But he also put the boys first, an inherited trait
post #57 of 160
I'm going to go with "yes."

Generally, the children I've known whose parents have divorced have had isues stemming from it.
post #58 of 160
I think there are a lot of factors involved...child's personality, age, the situation, how the parents act, life in general, etc.

I'm about to go thru a divorce, so this is a question I have really, really struggled with. And the answer I've come up with is that there IS no answer. There is no guarantee, no way to 100% predict the future in any situation. However, you can do your darndest as a parent to positively affect your child's life. I agree with many of the PP's that, IMO, parenting more than the divorce itself shapes a child. I also don't think that having a mommy, daddy, and child together under one roof is necessarily the be all, end all of ideal situations. Family can be defined in so many different ways...single parent/child(ren), grandparents/child(ren), couple/child(ren), guardian/child(ren)...to name a few. I don't think one is better than the other, provided you have important components like stability and love and respect.
post #59 of 160
A&A, my parents divorced when I was 16, my youngest sibling was 5. IN our case, dad was very physically abusive (so that's what messed me and my sibs up), and there was a collective sigh of relief for the older ones of us... It was hard for the first few years, but we've generally doing ok.

But you know what, alot of things, other than divorce can screw up a kid. So it's just amatter of looking at all the factors involved.
post #60 of 160
My husband's parents are divorced. Mine are still married. I am way more screwed up than him.
DH's mom left his dad when he was small because it was clear his father had no interest in being a father. She did it for DH, and he has understood that for a long time. She was/is an amazing mom, and DH adores her. He understands love and how it should look because she chose it on his behalf over and over.
My family is as dysfunctional as it gets without physical abuse. Simple love is a foreign concept I've had to learn as an adult, same for respect and boundaries.
If by divorce, individuals are choosing to bring more love into their families (I don't mean more partners, if cheating is involved) then I don't think the kids will suffer long term specifically from the divorce.
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