Just Labradors banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, this is a strange post, but we have a lot of smart people on here, so I am hoping that everyone who wants can provide some insight of their own to my question. If you have parents who are divorced, or are divorced yourself or just have an opinion, how do you think kids are affected by divorce? Are the affects less the younger a child is when the divorce happens, worse, or do you feel age makes no difference in the long run? I am asking because, well, my sister and her husband are getting a divorce and while my oldest niece (who is 7 years old) is the most obvisiously upset I feel her two younger siblings who are 4 and 2 are or will be just as affected as she is. I believe this because I left my husband when my son was three weeks old and I can tell you, the fact that his father and I are no longer together affects him, even though he has no idea what it was like to have us together. Of course, every situation is different, my husband isn't even a part of my son's life at all and my niece's see their dad and mom every day. My family seems to dismiss the idea that the younger ones will have issues too, and this upsets me, and I just want insight from other's to see if my feelings about this are misplaced. I feel that all the kids need equal support because even if they don't seem to be affected yet, I believe that they are affected even if we don't see it. My family seems to think that because there are few outward signs that they are not affected. Anyway, just my ramble...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,486 Posts
I don't think the age matters. It effects long term, regardless. I was 2 or 3 when my parents divorced and was adopted by my stepfather. He is/was an excellent dad but the ramifications of my biological dad not really having anything to do with my life left a huge scar there. Keep the communication lines open on all ends....only real advice I have for her from a "child's" standpoint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,211 Posts
I don't think you can pigeonhole anyone's experience as the product of divorced parents.

My parents have been married for almost 40years.

My husbands parents have been divorced for almost 20years. Well separated for almost that long, I think the divorce took at least 5years to finalize. And each of the three kids were each affected differently. Each has their own issues that we really believe stem from their parents divorce. But they had a terrible divorce and neither of them kept their children out of it. Both bad mouthed the other parent. And that really really hurts a kid. And that kid grows up as an adult who has some issues.

I have seen numerous people who have divorced parents who are so well adjusted, because their parents were mature enough to keep the divorce civil and keep the kids a priority.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,307 Posts
I want to say that I have no personally experience. But will share my DILs story. Youngest of four. Dad walked out when she was 5. The wedding took place when she was 35. She refused to invite her father. The other three have had contact with him, but she has not exchanged a word with him. 'He left me and I grew up without a Dad. Why should I do the right thing with respect to him.' We have decided this is a topic that will never again be breached between us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,418 Posts
my parents split up and divorced when i was 10. i was old enough to see what a pathetic loser my father was and didn't miss him. my sister, who is 3 years younger than me, never got over it. i don't think my situation applies to everyone, though. my father was an abusive alcoholic and i did my best to shield my sister from his abusive behavior. unfortunately that backfired as she never saw what he was really like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,524 Posts
I think the outcome definitely has to do with the parents. My husband's parents divorced when he was 5, and his brother was 4. They really don't remember what it was like to have their parents together, so they really only remember what it was like to have them divorced. After the divorce his dad still did all of the "dad" things (mowing the lawn, taking the kids to sports, fixing things around the house, etc.). After his mom re-married (and he re-married) he stopped mowing the lawn and stuff, but was very present in his life. His dad died quite a while ago, but up until his death would still have family dinners quite often (mom, dad, step-dad, step-mom, kids, step-kids, etc.). The civility between the 2 families was/is very important to my husband. He remembers his dad and step-dad drinking beer and grilling burgers together at his high-school openhouse. It really meant a lot to him that they had that kind of relationship.

My sister has a horrible relationship with her ex-husband, and it shows in her son. They got divorced when he was 2, so I know he doesn't remember anything. He gets so tense and stressed when he has to go visit his dad, and he and my sister fight about everything for days beforehand. I think it is because he knows there will be tension between his mom and dad and he is dreading it.

I just think it has a lot less to do with the divorce itself, and much more to do with how the adults interact after it is over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,137 Posts
I don't think you can pigeonhole anyone's experience as the product of divorced parents.
I have seen numerous people who have divorced parents who are so well adjusted, because their parents were mature enough to keep the divorce civil and keep the kids a priority.
I agree with this 200%
My parents were on shaky ground when I was in 6th and 7th grade. They divorced when I was a freshman: my mom was a selfish, selfish person who tried to use me to get as much money as she could from Dad. Do I love her to this day - yes. But I do see her for what she is. My father sent me to live with my sister far away from the situation. Am I scared - yes but the older I got the better I could handles the situation.
My husband and his first wife were divorced when the twins were less than a year old. (I was no where near the picture yet) years later - the son is fine and well adjusted, the daughter is attention starved and NOT well adjusted. Was it the divorce or "life"?
IMO the best chance for the kids is if in all aspects the "parents were mature enough to keep the divorce civil and keep the kids a priority."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,664 Posts
I think everyone's experience is going to be different.

DH's parents divorced when he was two. Since he has no recollection of his parents being together, he says he wasn't affected. However, when his mom left his dad, she moved herself and the kids as far away as she could from him. Not having his dad in his life was very hard for DH.

DH's sister was 12 when the divorce was final. She had a very hard time adjusting. It probably didn't help that her mother bad-mouthed her father every day for years.

When DH's sister was divorced, it was after a 15-year dysfunctional, horribly strained marriage. Her 9 year old son actually seemed relieved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,206 Posts
Every situation and the people involved are different. Here is my story.

My dad married, had three kids and then divorced his first wife.
He then got married to my mother after she got pregnant with me. They were together 11 years before she divorced him.
Mom remarried and had Tom (my lil bro) when I was 12.

When my parents seperated, it kinda shocked me. I mean... I remember mom being unhappy and she and I were very close... almost more like friends... because she didn't get along with my father and stayed with him because she thought it was best for me. Then one day, she read a book saying it was better for the kid to separate an unhappy marriage.

So they split and started the worst years of my life. I discovered that my dad really didn't care to spend that much time with me. He didn't fight for much visitation and even when I did want to visit (and mom okayed it) he wouldn't let me. I learned that he valued his other three kids way more than me. I started to feel that he didn't love me as he took out his frustration with my mother on me. Ever since then I have had "daddy" issues. I stopped talking to him about 7 years ago as I couldn't stand the obvious uncaring attitude on his end.

Mom almost immediately fell in love with John and got pregnant with Tom. She went from being my "best friend" to being just my mom. The new family dynamic meant that she hesitated to allow me to do things (financially) because part of the expense would be covered by John and he "wasn't my father" as she put it.

Nothing terrible happened to me... John was a fine step-dad who has done a lot for me in my life... of course I love my little bro... and mom and I are on good terms atm. But I am still scarred in ways I don't think I would have been if my parents had stayed together or had split earlier.

I think younger kids DO have it easier. They adapt faster and easier and they won't have this built up image of who their parents are come crashing down on them. Getting divorced when your kids are in middleschool/highschool is just really selfish (unless things are super bad) in my opinion.

It really depends on the parents and the kids and how they handled it. I know mine definitely could have handled things differently both for better or for worse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
I agree that there is no one outcome of divorce. I had an exboyfriend who was SO messed up over his parent's divorce, which took place while he was in college. He could not stay in a relationship for more than a few months, and was a true commitaphobe if I ever knew one, and the better I got to know him the more I realized that it stemmed from his frustrations over it. However, I have known many who are almost the extreme opposite as a result of seeing firsthand what divorce can do...not to say that they don't struggle with their own issues around divorce, but that it would just never be an option to them in their own marriages almost to the point of codependence.

I think that personality, the age of divorce, the circumstances and context in which in happens, as well as the relationship that the parents maintain afterwards really have a huge effect on the potential outcome for kids. There is such a huge spectrum, and even then if things were handled ideally, they can have very negative outcomes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,664 Posts
The civility between the 2 families was/is very important to my husband. He remembers his dad and step-dad drinking beer and grilling burgers together at his high-school openhouse. It really meant a lot to him that they had that kind of relationship.
I really wish my husband's parents and step-parents had that kind of releationship. Instead, they were so bitter towards each other. DH's parents refused to be photographed together at my SIL's wedding, and on my wedding day, we were all stressed trying to keep the parents away from each other.

IMO the best chance for the kids is if in all aspects the "parents were mature enough to keep the divorce civil and keep the kids a priority."
Absolutely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,211 Posts
I really wish my husband's parents and step-parents had that kind of releationship. Instead, they were so bitter towards each other. DH's parents refused to be photographed together at my SIL's wedding, and on my wedding day, we were all stressed trying to keep the parents away from each other.
I wish my husbands parents and step-parents had that kind of relationship, as well.

The stress of having both sets of his parents in one room or even building is just too much for him to bear. IT was one of the reasons we eloped. Even I get stressed and I wasn't even around when they separated, but there is just so much hate between my FIL and MIL. We both dread when his sister or brother get married. I think I will be rip roaring drunk that night.

ALSO- when these divorced parents have grandchildren- they need to let go of all their anger and hostility towards each other. Which is something my inlaws have not. My FIL hides it MUCH better than my MIL. For example: When Kelsey was 5 or 6, she asked my MIL if she liked my FIL. Instead of just saying Yes, she said "It's complicated" (or it's a long story). When Kelsey asked my FIL the exact same question, my FIL said "Yes." All my little girl wanted to know was that the people she loves like each other and my MIL couldn't give her that. And that still pisses me off to this day and it was 5 or 6 years ago!!

Ok. My rant/vent is over. Sorry. Go on. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,257 Posts
These stories are so sad......

Thank God, I've got no experience on any end. Eileen's parents were married 26 years before her Dad passed away in 1981. Mine were just shy of their 50th when my Dad died in 2006.

And Eileen and I have been going strong for 21 years this coming May.

Hmmm... Feeling like tonight would be a good one to stop on the way home and bring her flowers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,548 Posts
I agree with everyone who said there is no one answer to the question 'how are kids of divorce affected?'

Jason's parents divorced when he was 7. His mom and stepdad have now been married longer than his mom and dad were. Both dad and stepdad are called Dad and we have them all over to our house on Jason's birthday and we have a shot of us with all the parents from our wedding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,362 Posts
I don't have a personal experience with divorce, but I always marvel at the differences between my two friends J and S who are brothers one year apart. Their parents divorced when J was in the 7th grade and S was in the 8th. Bitter awful divorce with mom manipulating the boys against their father. J got along better with dad and S was Mama's boy. To this day you can see the damage this divorce did to them. J has always been very needy in relationships and very insecure. S withdrew for awhile into alcohol and drugs and became the proverbial "bad boy" in high school. S had a lot of trouble with committment for many years and actually just got married last year to his girlfriend of 4 years after a string of women who could never win his trust or his heart.

Neither want children. Both have separately stated to me that they fear messing up their own kids worse than they are. J no longer has any communication with his mother and is very close with his dad. S, while on good terms with his dad, still gets put in the middle by mom who wants him to relay messages to the rest of the family from her - usually around the holdiays.

Partly due to their individual personalities, partly due to the roles that they took during the divorce, they both struggled with the aftermath of their parent's divorce. It has taken a long time and the love of two very strong women to make these broken boys whole men.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,715 Posts
my parents split up and divorced when i was 10. i was old enough to see what a pathetic loser my father was and didn't miss him. my sister, who is 3 years younger than me, never got over it. i don't think my situation applies to everyone, though. my father was an abusive alcoholic and i did my best to shield my sister from his abusive behavior. unfortunately that backfired as she never saw what he was really like.
I see this quite a bit- in DH's family the 3 older kids knew what an "A" hole their Dad was and were just happy to have him out of the house and have peace that it brought- the youngest sibling never got over it! In my case my parents were separated before I was ever born so I have never known them to be together- they were both active in raising my brother and I. My father married our Step Mom, who was the best thing that ever happened to our family! She kept- the communication between our Mom and Dad going- She seriously should of written a book on being the best Step Parent in the WORLD!! With all of our parents divorced who would of thought that DH and I would make it all these years and still be in love!! All I can say is each child will be differant in how they will deal with it, but to think it won't effect them for the good or bad is just not practicle- no matter the age!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,715 Posts
These stories are so sad......

Thank God, I've got no experience on any end. Eileen's parents were married 26 years before her Dad passed away in 1981. Mine were just shy of their 50th when my Dad died in 2006.

And Eileen and I have been going strong for 21 years this coming May.

Hmmm... Feeling like tonight would be a good one to stop on the way home and bring her flowers.
Dan that is why you will be married for the next forever years!! I agree it is sad and I think it is why Tom and I have worked even through the most difficult times to keep our marriage together- we are stronger and more in love for it. I know there are some marriages that just don't work, I just feel lucky that mine has.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,514 Posts
My parents divorced when I was around 5 or 6 years old. The hardest part for me was I was a serious daddy's girl. I was also a very overly sensitive and shy (to a point is was almost disabling) and my dad was my world. He took me fishing, camping, hunting...
So my world was turned upside down by the divorce and his new girlfriend - soon to be wife.
I think I got through it all because of how my parents handled it. While my family was certainly dysfunctional they did not let the divorce take over and ruin the parent/child relationship. But looking back I know it still effected me.
I also think a lot has to do with how the child was raised and the child. I was a very bright and intelligent child.
I am now going on 38 and can see where I have had issues that under treatment I am sure a doc would say stem from the divorce...blah blah blah. But I don't think I would have changed my if I could. I turned out really well and I have not suffered in ANY way!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I had to give advice to anyone who was divorcing and has kids I would say NEVER $(*#&@( EVER talk down about your ex-spouse in front of, near or in the same house as your children. This is VERY damaging. Never grill your child when they return from their visit with their other parent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,657 Posts
I am going to give a rather simple answer, and it is "yes" it will affect them. In some way, not having 2 parents together is going to affect them one way or the other. But then, the parents "staying together for the kids sake" is going to affect them too, and many times not for the best. Even if the kids never realize that the parents would rather be apart and think everything was fine, their main experience with a relationship was based on a falsehood. And each kid will be affected differently. The most important thing is for the parents not to make the kids an issue in the divorce and living thereafter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,715 Posts
If I had to give advice to anyone who was divorcing and has kids I would say NEVER $(*#&@( EVER talk down about your ex-spouse in front of, near or in the same house as your children. This is VERY damaging. Never grill your child when they return from their visit with their other parent.
I agree 1000% I never heard any of parents talking bad about the other- not once and I'm pretty sure my brother could say the same. Its so dang important to not down grade the other parent. No matter how you feel about them, your children love their parents!!
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top