Stereotypes of a family unit leave out the biggest change on the playing field, which is divorce.
Despite the rates of divorce have hit an all-time low in the last 40 years in 2016, marriages still have a 50% percent chance of failure. Divorce is an issue that can negatively impact not only the couple separating, but any co-dependents (children) they may have also find themselves caught in the fray. The type of divorce is also an important factor; whether it is an amicable split or a contentious one. If a child is caught in the middle of a contentious divorce, they are more susceptible to stress and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
There will be some people who use this one event as a crutch or an excuse for their bad behavior and acting out; but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Blaming a divorce for all your problems isn’t the answer and being a “product of divorce” like you are unable to change your nature is a frame of mind that you can grow out of.
I am a child of divorce. My parents separated when I was only six years of age and I was the oldest of my siblings, therefore I had major sector of responsibility thrust upon me. No longer was I able to enjoy a carefree childhood since I was forced to grow up beyond my age; I became like an adult in nature and learning to be independent of my parents was a daily struggle. The struggle that went down between my parents was a vicious and contentious one that occasionally has small bouts that burst up every now and then. Even a decade after the split, the demons still rear their head. Most of my life, I have been caught in a maelstrom of emotional abuse, parental alienation, lies, manipulation, and much more by the hand of one of my parents. Because of the divorce I am well beyond my ripe age of 16 mentally, but I suffer from depression and a cynical mindset in the regards to relationships and love. However, I never use my parents’ divorce as an excuse to act a certain way or garner sympathy. Even when I was stressed out beyond belief or severely depressed as a kid, I never allowed myself to excuse any bad behavior with the divorce. My story isn’t unique; there are thousands of kids just like me out there and many of them desperately need outlets to channel their angst over the divorce through.
My advice comes in a few solutions: therapy/seeking help, creative outlets, and embracing the validity of your feelings. To this day, I am in therapy and my parents divorcing and the effects of their divorce are one of the main topics of discussion. Opening up about the divorce and your feelings truly helps to resolve some of the issues you may encounter; someone impartial and separate from the whole dilemma can seriously help you sort out the jumbled puzzle pieces that may be your life. Another thing a therapist can be helpful with is helping you better understand your feelings and validating them if they are warranted. Finally, finding creative and positive outlets to channel any negative emotions into is my top suggestion. I do kickboxing, speech and debate, creative writing, and the Civil Air Patrol for that very reason. You shouldn’t let your emotions be pent up and provoke you into lashing out. Find a better way instead.
Like I said before, divorce is very common. At any given time there are at least a few hundred people going through what you are. But you have to remember that you are not defined by the
event that may shape your life. The ‘product of divorce’ mentality can easily be changed through acknowledgement that you are nit defined by the choices made by your parents.