I know first hand how hard it is being a child with divorced parents.
When I was 8 years old my parents finally decided to call it quits. Was I surprised? Not really. They had been fighting constantly and even as young as I was I knew that divorce was coming sooner or later.
I use to be very close with my dad. We were like two peas in a pod. He would get angry, verbally and emotionally abusive occasionally, but I would always forgive him because that’s just who I was. I was mad at my mom when my dad moved out because I wouldn’t get to see him all the time. Just like everything else in my life at the time I learned to get over it. I don’t really remember the series of events that went on, but I know they all happened so fast.
It was awhile after the divorce that my mom had told me we were moving and boy was I furious. My moms boyfriend (who lived in Bismarck when they met) got a new job in Dickinson, she thought it would be best for all of us to get away from my dad. I had to move away from the friends I had known since kindergarten.
I was in 4th grade at the time, it was the middle of the school year and I thought I wouldn’t make any friends at my new school. If you knew what I looked like in 4th grade you’d probably understand why I felt that way. I made new friends and learned to move on with my life because I knew I’d be living in Dickinson, ND for another 8 years until graduation.
A few months after we moved I was feeling stressed, I was acting out at home, at school, basically any where I could get attention. I felt as if I had done something wrong. Not that I was solely the cause of everything but just that maybe I couldn’t done something to prevent it. I started going to therapy. After a few times, I realized I was being an idiot and needed to shape up. Mostly because my therapist scared me and I didn’t want to see her again.
My parents were still constantly fighting even though they were 100 miles apart. Fighting about child support, when to pick up me and my sister, who got us on holidays, why the divorce was “bullshit”. I thought splitting up meant the fighting would stop. I was wrong. My dad would always pick fights with my mom. I learned that I would always be fought over, but not in a good way. I think a light bulb finally went off in my head when I was about 12. I realized that maybe my dad, my hero, wasn’t the man I thought he was. After all, all he would seem to do was turn me and my sister against my mom and somehow everything was everybody else’s fault but his own. As the years slowly went by I seemed to talk to my dad less and less. I visited him on the weekends less and less. I was so tired of all the being carted back and forth, back and forth.
When I hit high school and I finally had my license I would only see my dad maybe once a month sometimes 2 or 3 months would go by before I saw him. He would blame my mom for it because she thought she was keeping me from him. I was in high school, I was capable of making choices for myself. At 16 he treated me like I was still 5 which pushed me away more. If I wouldn’t text or call him first we wouldn’t talk. He didn’t understand that the phone works both ways.
I’m 18 now and looking back on it all I wonder about a lot of things. Such as why my dad played the victim when that wasn’t the situation at all, how things can go so wrong for people who were together for nearly 10 years.
Being a child of divorced can put you in tough situations like who to see what weekend, who’s side to take, what family’s holidays you have to attend every year. But not everything was bad. I got 4 great parents, 5 sets of grandparents, amazing step-aunts and uncles, and the best step-cousins and even some step-siblings. I moved to a great place where I made friends who I’ll have for years to come.
For a long time, and even still, my parents can’t go a conversation without fighting. People always tell me I’m too picky about who I date. But if pickiness prevents divorces then I’ll be single until I’m 40.