Being a child of divorced parents, I can give only my side of the story. Of course there’s still my mom’s side and my dad’s side, which are completely valid because we each have our own unique set of experiences. Whether your parents split when you were a little kid, a teenager, or an adult, there a few things to which we can all relate. If you’re fortunate enough to have your parents still together, then take a moment and educate yourself; you might learn something.
1. It might come as a complete surprise.
I don’t know why, but there’s this preconceived notion that if your parents split up, you must have seen it coming. There is this idea that all divorced couples had a screaming match every day and made their children miserable. Although I’m sure this happens, in my case and many others it doesn’t. It often comes as a complete surprise, especially if the kids are young.
2. Cheating is not always a factor.
I still remember the time when I told someone my parents were splitting up and they reacted by asking me if my dad had a girlfriend. It was completely surprising and hurtful. Of course in many cases adultery plays a role in causing a divorce, but not always. To save yourself the embarrassment, don’t assume that is the reason.
3. Holidays will never be the same.
Since we’re getting into the holiday season, this is a good one to remember. People assume that when your parents are divorced it means you get two of everything: two birthdays, two Thanksgivings, and two Christmases. Newsflash: That often is not the case. It probably means that you have to choose which parent you want to spend each holiday with. It is a terrible thing to deal with and naturally might diminish the happiness the holidays often bring. This gets easier over time as you adjust, but in the beginning it is never easy.
4. Divorced parents do not equal spoiled children.
This goes along with the point I made above. Divorce does not mean two times the presents and money. Yes, I have heard of instances where a girl got a $500 prom dress because each parent gave her a $250 limit. I promise you those are rare occurrences. I know it is a cliché that divorced parents lavish their children out of guilt. Sure, it can be a benefit, but I guarantee you they’d rather have their parents together than receive extra gifts.
5. Your parents can stay friends.
Yes, something positive! Speaking from experience I had my parents go from not being able to have a conversation to becoming the best of friends. Both situations can be strange; however, the latter is more desirable. It is possible for divorced parents to have an amicable relationship. It is rare, but possible. However, it makes the lives of the kids so much easier.
6. Your relationship with your parents will be redefined.
Maybe you’ve always been a daddy’s girl, but you find yourself living with your mom. That can be a strange adjustment. Growing up, kids usually see their parents as one-dimensional beings whose sole responsibility is to take care of them. As you grow up you learn that is not the case, especially if your parents break up. You realize quickly that your parents are human beings with flaws and it is essential to form individual relationships with them. I’m thankful I got to know my parents as unique individuals. I am happy to call them both my friends.
7. It does not have to affect your future relationships.
If I read one more statistic talking about how children of divorced parents have commitment issues, I just might scream. Screw the statistics and don’t dare call me a product of a “broken home.” I am my own person who has a healthy relationship with her parents. Do I have issues? Sure, but everyone does. The fact that your parents’ relationship didn’t work does not mean your future relationships won’t work. Don’t believe the lie they will try to sell you.
8. It is not the end of the world.
Does it suck that your parents broke up? Absolutely. Will it take time to move past it and heal? Yes, but you might never fully “get over” it. If you find a way, please let me know. Bottom line: Realize there is more to life than the family you were born into. Divorce doesn’t have to have an effect on how much your parents love you or how much you love them. You can have a great relationship with your parents and be a fully functional, successful, commitment-loving adult. That is something the self-help books won’t tell you.
9. The little kid inside you will wish they were still together.
I have come to accept the fact that no matter how many years pass, I will always wish my parents were still together. Every milestone and family gathering serves as a reminder that they are divorced. It shocks me that soon I will have lived an even amount of years experiencing them married as experiencing them divorced. It is a strange occurrence that I don’t understand and definitely no one warned me about. It does, however, make me treasure my childhood that much more and has equipped me with the strength to handle numerous situations. No one tells you how much it will hurt, but believe me when I say you can survive it.