I’ve lived with my mother my whole life and my step-father since I was in third grade. My biological father has only been involved in my life for about a year when I was five and hasn’t made any contact with me in the almost fifteen years since. I am no stranger to divorce, and I know what it’s like to live with a single parent as well as a blended family.
Let me begin by saying divorce does not give children a reason to hate either of their parents. I am a child of divorce (and though one friend told me my experience does not count because I was young when my parents split up, I feel being abandoned by a biological parent gives me warrant to have this opinion.) I have a complete memory of the split, but it has not negatively affected my view of my mother or made me angry at her.
The thing about divorce is people don’t do it for petty reasons or because of anything their children do. People divorce because they are incapable of being together, no longer love each other as they feel they ought to, or because they are in unhealthy situations. Divorce is a means for people to separately continue their lives in a way that promotes their happiness. I know my mother is happier apart from my biological father, so I have no reason to hate her or him for being separated. I find it incredibly selfish of my friends who resent their parents for divorcing because, just as parents want their children to be happy, children should want their parents to be happy as well. Adults have a right to joy as much as children as long as those children are safe, cared for, and loved.
Lives are not destroyed by divorce. I think many children believe a split will change their world, but that’s usually not the case. Yes, some parents have custody battles and smack-talk each other (and to those people, why is it necessary?), but most people will continue as normal. Children may have two houses to carry their belongings between and may have four Christmas parties to attend, but it’s not the end of the world. Divorce taught me the importance of independence; I know how to stand on my own when I need to.
In no way am I so naïve to believe all splits are clean and easy and no one gets hurt. I’m only saying children of divorce should try to evaluate what they are resentful about. Are they forgetting their parents happiness and well-being? Are they upset their family picture looks more like a Venn diagram of his, hers, mine, theirs, and ours?