Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Children — An Essay by a Child of Divorce
My name is Samantha, I’m sixteen years old. When I was nine years old my parents dropped a bomb that split my life into two pieces, literally. My parents sat me down and told me, “We’re getting a divorce.”
At first I felt as if my heart had shattered into a million pieces and there was no way of putting it back together. I remember the vision of my parents becoming blurred with tears. My first thought was that the allied force that had been my parents had broken the alliance and declared war on one another, meaning I thought there was going to be a custody battle.
Of course, my Mom being a Family Law Attorney, I had seen the evils of divorce through my Mom’s job. I would sit in the office with her during the summer and “help” her (even though as an elementary student, I probably wasn’t very helpful). I had seen the cases with the parent telling their kid(s) that it’s all “Mommy’s” or all “Daddy’s” fault, that all the arguments are happening because “Mommy” or “Daddy” filed for divorce, that all the emotional pain the child is feeling from the fact their parents are getting divorced is all “Mommy’s” or all “Daddy’s” fault. The child with the shattered heart of course believes this, not knowing any better, and develops an animosity towards “Mommy” or “Daddy,” destroying that relationship for the rest of the child’s life, which hurts both the child and “Mommy” or ”Daddy”. This, of course, can turn into a custody battle and make the divorce so much more painful for the child and both the parents. This being said, I knew enough about divorces that it was easy for my heart broken imagination to jump to conclusions and think “I’m never going to see one of my parents ever again!”
In reality my parents were working together to make it as painless as possible for me. They worked to make sure I still have a Mom and I still have a Dad, and I still have a close relationship with both of them; now they’re just at two different houses. They didn’t talk about the divorce around me at all, which made it so much more painless. They made sure I knew that it was not anyone’s fault, they just fell out of love and that’s the way it is.
On September 27, 2006, they were officially divorced. My Dad moved out into his own house. There was peace in the house for the first time in years. At my Dad’s house it’s peaceful, and at my Mom’s it’s peaceful.
Honestly, my parents’ divorce has caused so much relief to me, and I feel like a lot of that has to do with the way they handled it. Every once in a while I get frustrated, I’ll forget some homework at my Dad’s, or my phone charger at my Mom’s, but these frustrations are nothing compared to the peace I have in both my homes.
I’m very close with both my parents. I see my Dad all the time, even though I live with my Mom. Both my parents are very interactive with my education (which is wonderful for anyone, just I especially appreciate because I have ADHD). On the rare occasions I do something that would cause me to get in trouble, my parents talk to each other about how I’ll be punished. When I’m sick, my Dad knows about it even if I’m at my Mom’s.
As a sixteen year old girl, I can’t believe I ever thought my heart was permanently shattered because of my parent’s divorce, because it doesn’t look like it even has a scratch on it now.
I’m very proud of my daughter and I’m so very glad that my ex-husband and I planned our divorce to preserve and strengthen our relationships with Samantha. If you’re facing divorce and you’d like to enjoy a strong relationship with your children in the years following your divorce, please call me to arrange an appointment. My phone number is 281-762-0578 and I serve parents in Fort Bend County and Harris County.