My kids can spot things that I easily miss. As soon as we get into a store, my son can point out a renegade balloon that is tucked up in some rafter that I would have never noticed.
My daughter can find Elsa or Anna on anything, even if they are only an inch tall.
Growing with my kids has reminded me of how keen a kid’s senses are. I firmly believe that kids have a sharp intuition to discern a person’s character embedded in them as a defense mechanism.
At least that is how I was as a kid.
I didn’t like J.C. (this definitely does NOT stand for Jesus Christ). Looking back, he was like a snake in the grass, seductively slithering his way into our house.
He began spending more and more time with my dad, which I thought was odd. My dad had few friends, and they were usually guys that he worked with.
J.C. constricted our family time by showing up in the evenings, and not leaving until after I had gone to bed.
We had a teal leather sectional couch that I took many naps on. My parents sat across from while I was sitting on it one evening.
“We’re getting separated. Daddy will be moving out.”
The leather stuck to my legs as I slid out of my seat, crying hysterically.
I was almost six.
My dad had decided to leave my mom for J.C. or something like that. He had lived in torment his entire life, knowing that he was different and battling things that I will never understand. His decision to liberate himself destroyed my family.
He took about a year to go out and discover his new found life before steadily coming back into mine. Fortunately, J.C. was thrown out of the picture.
There is a lot that I don’t remember about that time, but I do remember being overwhelmed with sadness, writing in my school journal everyday “My parent’s are getting divorced,”and having excruciating stomach pains everyday.
I was asked who I wanted to live with, and my reply was with my Granny. How could a six year old be asked to choose between her mother or father.
From what I was told, I blamed my mom for my dad leaving. I don’t remember that part. I just remember my mom always being there. Even in her immense sadness, she was still there.
I grew up spending a week with my mom then a week with my dad. This was always the arrangement, and it worked for us. I always joke about how good I am at packing a bag because I lived out of a suitcase for the majority of my childhood.
My dad finally settled into a relationship with a good man who was kind to me, and he lived with us for many years.
Growing up with a gay dad in the 90’s wasn’t easy. Dad told me that I had to keep it a secret, and I did, even to the point of causing me great duress.
So there we were. A single mom who worked all the time to make ends meet, and a gay dad. We loved each other, and eventually fell into a routine that was comfortable.
Half of you reading this probably came from a broken home, but do you know the statistics that are attached to us?
- Children in repeat divorces are generally less pleasant to be around.
- Teenage children of divorce are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.
- Children from divorced homes have more psychological problems, than children from which one of the parents has died. (I’ve dealt with both)
- Between children of divorced parents there are relatively more cases of injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than among children whose parents have remained married.
- Children of divorced parents are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than children in two parent families.
- Children that are living with both biological parents are 20 to 35 percent physically healthier than children from broken homes.
- In 1991 a study was done of children from which the parents were divorced six years earlier. The study found that even after all that time, these children tended to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure.
- Children divorce statistics indicate that children of divorced parents are four times more likely to report relational problems with peers and friends than children whose parents have kept their marriages intact.
- (Adult) children of divorce are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than children from normal homes.
These stats are a bit dated, but it is hard finding new stats on the Google.
I never thought that my parent’s divorce had anything to do with my depression and anxiety. It never occurred to me until I heard a pastor spitting out a bunch of stats like the ones I listed above. It was like a light bulb went off in my head.
Honestly, I don’t think that my parents’ divorce is the sole reason that I’ve dealt with a lifetime of mental illness, but it is a part of my story, my truth, and a puzzle piece in my story of healing and recovery.
Divorce isn’t going to destroy your kids, but it is important to learn how to help your kids navigate through it as well as getting help for yourself. You can go through it on your own, but it’s so much better to go through it with some help.
I’ve got my fuzzy socks pulled up, and I’m settling down under my soft comforter for the night. I hope you are able to rest easy and have sweet dreams!