It's been known for quite some time that the divorce rate in North America is around 50%. While that statistic used to alarm many families, divorce seems normal to many of us now. The entire premise of leaving a marriage was unheard of in the '50s, but with the feminist movement in the '60s, divorces began happening more often, creating the modernized families many of us have today.
Although divorce is very common and is something many of us don't even bat an eye to, that doesn't mean some people aren't sensitive to the subject; especially children of divorce. It's one thing for parents to leave their unhappy marriage and feel free at last once it's finalized, but it's a completely different feeling for the kids. No matter how young or old a child is when their parents call it quits — it can be difficult.
The family they knew is now in a different territory; there are situations they need to get used to now that their parents live in two households. And while they're figuring out their new normal, the topic of their parents' relationship always seems to come around, which brings us to this article of invasive questions and comments people make regularly to those affected.
When you're a person whose parents are still together, having two holidays seems like a blast! You probably get double the presents and more celebrations; it's as if the good times never stop. And while that could be true for many children of divorce, it can be incredibly stressful for others.
Having to celebrate two holidays in separate homes means juggling schedules, new traditions, and the constant feeling that you're letting the other parent down.
It can be hard thinking you're leaving a vital family member out of the celebrations. So when people say "You're so lucky you get two holidays!", most would prefer one celebration with everyone involved.
I remember telling a person that my parents were divorced and their response was "Oh, I'm so sorry." I told them there was nothing to feel bad over, it happened a couple years back and that we were all in a better place, and their response was "Oh okay, so you're over it."
Even if a divorce took place five years (or so) prior, I don't think a child of divorce ever really gets over the fact that their family split into two.
They still need to worry about holidays, birthdays, equal visitations, and summer vacations. It's not like those kinds of things disappear over a few years in time.
When parents get divorced, one of the first things they think about is where they're going to live. Is one parent keeping the house while the other one moves close by? Or does the family sell the home as a whole and both move into two pads? Regardless, finding a place to live on a whim isn't as easy as it is on TV. You need money to move into a new place, you also need money for divorce lawyers. The entire situation is quite costly, so while people think having two bedrooms or two homes is the dream — that's not always reality.
Sometimes a parent doesn't have the means to have a home like they did as a family.
This can lead to one-bedroom apartments and sleeping on the couch. You no longer have your own space.
Sometimes kids of non-divorced parents will tell kids (of divorced parents) that they wish their parents would get divorced (for two holidays, for a new school district, etc...). While everyone's situation is different, you shouldn't wish for something so incredibly raw and life changing to happen to your own family. Things aren't always as they appear, and though you have some dream-world made up in your head about a new modern family, divorce isn't as simple as that. It can be painful at times. Not to mention it makes life events and vacations incredibly awkward if both parents aren't cordial.
Telling a person they have "daddy issues" just because they have divorced parents is not a very nice stereotype. How people see that term as a joke is ruthless. There are plenty of kids who are close to their fathers after a divorce, and the same can be said for their mothers.
Just because parents break up doesn't mean they no longer have their parenting duties.
Not every parent leaves their spouse, their home, and their children. It's a bad stereotype for both kids with trust issues and dads who were just trying to find a happy medium. Just because they're divorced doesn't mean they're deadbeat dads.
When parents get divorced, they're no longer in the land of their spouse; they can essentially do whatever they like.
Many children have seen one parent move to another state or a few hours away, just for a new start in their new life.
But that often leaves the children in a tough spot. How and when are they going to see their other parent? This is typically when legal rules come into play, parents may have to negotiate whom the kids spend their summers and school years with.
As you can imagine, this is a sensitive area, which is why it shouldn't be brought up. Don't ask which parent they like living with better or the obvious issues that come along when one parent moves.
Just because a kid's parents got divorced (no matter how amicable it was), doesn't mean all kids swear off marriage or have relationship issues. It's a stereotype that's way too negative to be passed around.
And in the same boat, not all divorced situations need to be negative. They're life-changing, sure, but everyone heals over time.
A woman who comes from divorced parents doesn't need to have trust issues or swear off marriage altogether. On the contrary, they're able to do whatever feels and seems right. One couple's misfortune doesn't mean the same outcome for everyone else. Sometimes it can be the complete opposite.
Our lives are not like The Parent Trap or Sister, Sister. Some people think it's "cool" having parents who live in two separate homes because it seems easier to deceive them. A kid could tell their dad they're one place, and then tell their mom they're somewhere else. In the meantime, each parent thinks their kid is home safe with the other. However, children of divorce don't live in some insane wonderland where dooping their parents is at the top of their list. Do kids tell white lies about where they're going or who they're with sometimes? Absolutely. But no one hopes their parents get divorced just so they can do something like this.
When a child is going through their parents' divorce, they may be asked whose side they're on. That question alone is poking the bear where it doesn't need to be poked.
Why does a child need to be on any side?
Regardless of why their parents are getting divorced, they're still the parents of that child... Their relationship shouldn't change that dramatically post-divorce. If anything, a parent and child should become closer after divorce. It's a way to stay positive and united.
Being a child of divorce isn't some sort of game where they win or lose depending on "whom" they choose to side with.
Surprise! As aforementioned, not every divorce is a sad story! Kids don't always see their parents yelling and swiping at each other — sometimes it comes on unexpectedly. Assuming a family is in ruins because the parents are breaking up says more about you than it does about them.
We all want to hear a good sob story to make us feel better at times, but assuming every child of divorce is battered is messed up.
If you want some kind of sad story, you should go watch any movie on the Lifetime network. Some families do much better in a separate dynamic than a whole one.
Asking a kid if they think their parents would ever get back together is incredibly invasive — not to mention rude. Plus, a kid doesn't know the answer!
Divorce is already such a sensitive topic that asking them where things went wrong or if anyone can fix things is just out of line.
Understandably, outsiders are just curious and feel compelled to ask, but in reality, the person is still probably getting over the divorce or accepting this new lifestyle; asking them if their parents would ever get back together is asking for a whirlwind of emotions. Let's not stir the pot, shall we?
"How long were they married?" "When did they get divorced?" "How old were you when it happened?" "How did they break the news?"
I'm sorry, but a child's life is not newsworthy for the average ear! Some people need to chill with the questions. When a child of divorce is ready to talk about their divorce, they'll tell you. And besides, sometimes they don't even have all the answers. That's like someone asking you how your parents met, what age they were when they became engaged, and if you love their relationship... Why is it a subject of conversation in the first place?
I can appreciate people who always look at the glass half-full, but it can be obnoxious sometimes. If a person is upset their parents divorced or are in the process of getting divorced, they're allowed to vocalize how they're feeling.
Sometimes they don't necessarily need advice in return, they just want to talk about it.
So when someone tries to make them feel better by saying "Well, at least they're still alive," it makes the entire situation awkward. You can't compare narratives; both are incredibly different. Yes, having healthy parents is great, but what does that have to do with watching your parents leave each other?
This is going to be surprising to few, but asking a kid why their parents got divorced is annoying at any age. It doesn't matter why two people broke up. The reason lies between the couple. And most of the time, kids don't even know the real reason. They probably noticed tension or heard mom and dad fighting from time to time, but parents tend to keep the deeper reasons a secret so they don't scar their children. After all, just because two people break up doesn't mean they need their kids looking at them differently. The best thing they can do for the family is to keep things as civil as possible.
People of divorce don't really want to know if their parents are thinking about getting remarried right away (or even looking for company). They're still wrapping their heads around the fact that they have a new family dynamic. The last thing they want to put effort towards is if mom or dad is thinking about remarrying someone they date. That's a loaded question, if you ask me. I don't even think many kids ask their parents if they're thinking about remarrying until they're a little older. After all, just because they got divorced doesn't mean they rule out marriage entirely.
Some people are just too nosey for their own good. If a parent gets remarried and they have kids of their own—or maybe they become the step-parent to a few kids—this can create quite a family dynamic. It's a tough one because parents don't want to force anything too soon. This can result in a few bruised egos. However, if a person wants to talk about their new family dynamic or their new siblings, that's their prerogative. But to ask ask them how they feel about their half-siblings can be rather sensitive. Though things look clean cut on the surface, the grass isn't always greener.
Divorce can be a strange thing at times because some are more amicable than others.
Some children don't need to think twice if their mom or dad are coming to a family member's wedding or event, but others need to coordinate every last detail just to avoid an outrage.
This can be incredibly stressful to think about, so having someone ask you in further detail whether both are attending is unwanted pressure. At the end of the day, we're all adults here and if someone couldn't put their pride away for one event, then there are deeper issues at bay.
The beautiful thing about families is that they're all different. Some people have single parents, divorced parents, two dads, two moms... Our differences make us whole. They're nothing to be compared to. In the same breath though, there are some people who enjoy comparing families; making one seem better than the other.
When you're talking to a person with divorced parents, the last thing you should say is that you're so happy your parents aren't divorced.
Anyone is going to be happy that you're happy, but dissing someone else's family in the process is the wrong way to go about it.
Now that divorced parents are single again, the question if they're going to start dating is an obvious one. Depending on the age of the child, asking them if their parents are going to start dating can set someone back. They've only seen their parents as a couple, imagining them with another person can be difficult. That train of thought can also be a downward spiral into deeper subjects: if their parent's significant other has kids, if they'll even like their mom or dad's new partner, if their one parent cares that the other parent is dating... There are a lot of things to consider.
Not all kids of divorced parents are sad and depressed and mad at the world. Sometimes families become closer when their parents get divorced. This is why we should never judge a family's situation. Maybe breaking up was their way of becoming whole again. Families need unraveling sometimes just to come back as a unit (regardless if they're living under the same roof).
Don't pity someone when they say their parents are divorced. They do not come from a "broken" home and do not need anyone feeling sorry for them. There is no difference between them and you besides the fact that their parents broke up.