In honor of the last day of the month falling on my least favorite day of the week—Tuesday—today will be special because I am calling it “two story Tuesday.” Two new articles will be posted by the end of the day today to wrap up November!
So, let’s jump into it. Focusing on relationships this month, with a few curveball articles, has been a lot of fun. The one topic I was really eager to write about, however, is divorce.
Divorce is something I frequently get asked about because my parents went through theirs when I was a freshman in high school, and, the divorce was relatively public because my parents are well-known in my hometown.
The angle I want to take on this article, however, is not the story of my parents’ divorce, but rather, the ways in which my younger brothers and I handled the situation, what helped, what didn’t and the impact on our lives now—seven years later.
Divorce is becoming more of an accepted way of life, but that is not to say it is ever easy to go through. I have made several friends throughout my life who also have divorced parents and each of our stories are drastically different.
At the time of my parent’s separation, I was 14-years-old, my middle brother was 11-years-old and my youngest brother was 7-years-old. I cannot speak for them, or what it was like to process the separation at their age. For me, though, it was tough.
I always thought my family was the ideal version of the “American family.” We had what we needed and then some, my parents were somewhat of a high school sweetheart story and my brothers and I were all pretty kick ass kids, in my opinion.
Freshman year of high school is already difficult for a young girl. You experience the pressure of trying to find your crowd, making sure your fashion is up to par, making new friends, losing old ones, a lot more classes, teams to make, bullies to avoid—the list goes on and on.
I found that throughout the divorce, something that really helped me cope with the changes in my personal and social life was journaling. I could sit in my room and write anything and everything I was feeling and nobody would ever have to read it, if I didn’t want them to.
As time progressed and the custody schedule became more concrete, things got worse for me before they got better. I was hormonal and experimenting in social groups, but my parents were now trying to raise me and discipline me based on whatever day of the week it was and whose house I would be at.
I can honestly say, if any of you are going through a divorce right now, or already have been through one, something I think the court system should take into account is what the children desire. I am not saying you should flat out let your children dictate the custody arrangement, but their school schedules, sporting events and personal opinion deserve to be taken into account as well. The conversation, I am sure, is not a fun one to bring up as a parent, but I firmly believe that the children will feel heard and respected rather than feeling like they are trading cards going back and forth each day.
Throughout my college years is when my brothers and I grew exceptionally close. We would text, FaceTime and Snapchat about our days—I now living two hours away. They would fill me in on any drama they were experiencing at school, or at home.
I have worked hard for the “cool sister” status. I put in a lot of effort to get to know my brothers’ friends, attend sporting events and ask them those deep questions that are inevitably uncomfortable, but quickly feel relatable when all of you get together to talk about it.
If you are a child of any age going through your parent’s divorce, lean on your siblings if you have them. While there may not always be something happening surrounding the divorce, a quick check-in to see how they are coping with everything never hurts.
As parents, though, I ask that you do not take these conversations personally between you and your children. They are fighting their own battle while you are fighting yours. Let them speak freely with one another, and do not pry any of the children for information about what another child may have said.
I am now out of college and living several states away from my mom, dad and two brothers. The divorce has been seven years ago and, for me, I do feel as though I have fully processed everything as much as I can. Something that I am prepared for in future relationships, though, is how I feel about divorce, what happened, certain triggers I developed and, maybe, even new ones that I did not know existed.
I think that is the biggest impact divorce eventually ends up playing on a child—their own romantic relationships. I can say I am always a bit hesitant to open up to anyone about my parent’s divorce. I do not want my partner to have any pre-existing thoughts about my family before they ever get the chance to meet them.
My brothers are now 19 and 16. They have both been in and out of a relationship of their own now. They have expressed to me the same feelings of how the divorce impacts the way they go about approaching a romantic relationship of their own.
Some coping mechanisms that have helped me understand the divorce: