a work in progress

Growing Up a Child of Divorce

Growing Up a Child of Divorce

I have always wondered how much different I would be had my parents not been divorced.

According to my own memories, my parents divorced when I was in the second-grade. My parents let my brother and I skip school the next day and I vaguely remember my second-grade teacher asking me how I was doing later. There was no way I could understand the implications of divorce at only eight years old, yet somehow I recall crying in my parents’ room. I could not think of any instances of them fighting before then and it made no sense to me why they would decide to do such a thing so abruptly. I’m still not totally sure.

The details of my parents’ divorce have only been revealed to me through small snippets of information after repeatedly asking about it for the last twelve years.

Even now, I would not say I know much about it. Even if I did, the details will remain their business, not on my website for the internet to see. I’ll choose to focus on my reactions and thoughts to such life-changing events.

I used to be such a shy child.

I would never talk much, I only had about two friends; the girl I sat by at school and the boy that lived down the street. Around the same time my parents informed my brother and I of their separation I began to talk in class. It was this same year that I got my first “check in the notebook.” This “check” was meant for tracking bad behavior at school and I believe mine was for talking too much. Now I’m no psychologist and that behavior could be attributed to many things other than my family but I felt that it was worth noting. While I still remained a top student through grade school I think it is worth noting that some children lose interest in school following their parents’ separations. You can read more about it from someone qualified here.

Although I feel much different now than the immediate months following the divorce, I have always been a little resentful of the whole ordeal in the back of my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts are more prominent than others and I appear outwardly full of anger. Other times less so, and I come across as sad or broken.  But even when I am feeling these things I try to hide it, I don’t want my parents to feel guilty for something that happened over a decade ago.  They both did a great job raising me, what do I have to be upset about?

Read more about grief among children experiencing their parents’ divorce.

Through my years in school, I have heard from a few people about the benefits of having two parents that live together. I think back to some of the most upsetting ones that I can recall.  Because events with strong emotions are much easier to remember and are the ones that really stick with a person. I have done a little reading on it, you can too.

Not more than a year or two after the divorce my dad had given me a watch for my birthday or Christmas, I can’t remember which it was because they are within a few weeks of each other (I’m pretty sure it was my birthday).  I still have the watch in my jewelry box, because it’s special to me.  It is a pink and black watch with Pebbles from The Flintstones as the background of the watch face.  In what I can only describe as a prehistoric-looking font, it read “daddy’s girl.”  When I was younger I always considered myself a daddy’s girl and I thought it was special to have it on a watch that I could wear while paraded in the hallways of my elementary school.  Until one day, a girl in my class unknowingly asked me “Why are you wearing that watch, you don’t have a dad?”  This upset me greatly in my adolescence and still bring back those unpleasant memories to this day.  I’m sure she was not aware that having divorced parents does not mean you lose the parent that is not your primary guardian but I could not help but hold a grudge against her for years. It was probably misdirected anger, she gave me somewhere to channel it.  I have since grown up and moved on, I hope she is doing well.

I still think that I would be a much different person had my parents not separated, but I’m pretty happy with the person I have become. While I did not enjoy the process, I think we can all agree that it was for the best.

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