Remember the Children of Divorce.
Not every blog post needs to be an original, inspired, nugget. Even Fareed Zacaria “borrows”.
I think that’s fine, so long as attribution is given. I am happy if I can connect relevant sources into a useful product. I think I have here.
1. The following YouTube video may be contrived, written by an adult for a child to read, but I assure you this video rings true for someone who has been involved in the fate of 8000-10,000 children of divorce over 40 years. http://faithtap.com/1823/child-of-divorce-letter/
2. I have met some of these children as adults. I have talked with an 18 year old who endured years of counseling for HIS PARENTS’ dysfunction and who felt that meant something was wring with him. He urged me NOT to allow my clients send their children to a counselor. And, I met one recently who told me she was enduring sexual abuse by her father while her Mother and I were fighting for her, decades ago!
3. On that counseling issue, I find the only effective counselors of children in such situations end up counseling the parents to reduce the conflict. Counseling children to learn to endure the abuse is futile, and, frankly, insane.
4. We tend to blame “the parents” for conflict in divorce. My experience is that at least one parent in most divorces is trying to protect the children. I prefer to represent these people, and I implore those who aren’t so inclined to review their priorities.
5. Control, physical and emotional abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, greed, lack of empathy, and poor upbringing, – these factors, in myriad proportions, conspire to force conflict, danger, stress, and trauma upon children, and of course to the parties in the divorce.
6. On a related theme, why are people growing into such parents? I watched a movie, over 2.5 hours, last night that gives a good hint. I think it is realistic. RottenTomatoes.com says it portrays, “…the rocky terrain of childhood.”: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/boyhood/ .
7. From my perspective, the movie portrayed the rocky terrain of child neglect and abuse. Our society has changed so dramatically that I cannot imagine why the reviewer talked about “nostalgia” for a childhood of 15-20 years ago. If that means that things are even worse now, I say, “God help our country and our children.”
8. My parents had a conflicted marriage. Good people, loving parents, well-intentioned, in love, but not a good match emotionally. Thus their marriage lasted only 48 years. Yep; I became a “child of divorce” at age 47.
9. So, how did I survive into adulthood, whole and blissfully happy? I still credit my parents for love, support, taking me to church, getting me to my activities, and paying for a great education, but in the 50’s and 60’s, just as Hilary famously (and to much derision) said, it “took a village” to form me into a whole human being.
10. I seriously fear our “village” is turning into a jungle.
11. Look into the vacant eyes of the mug shots of young adults on the local evening news. What values and intellectual grounding are these lost young people getting? What values and insights do their parents have? What are they teaching their children about humanity? And, God forbid, if they go to jail or prison, what are they learning there? How to make license plates?
12. A few months ago I wrote about my upbringing in Ohio County (Wheeling), WV. http://wp.me/p4utce-gf .
13. I have no doubt that without the companions, teachers, leaders, and coaches, I would now be a different human being, if I survived at all.
14. I was a “risk taker” who needed structure, structure, structure, education, training, discipline, and guidance. I got those things “in spades”.
15. I am reading an article in Smithsonian Magazine that advocates a path of dignity for convicts, voting rights, and even college educations while they are serving their time. I agree, but our country must do a sober assessment of what is happening to your youth BEFORE they become convicts.
16. That’s very unlikely under the resurgence of the Republican Party and its mantra of “de-regulation”. Expect more violence in children’s shows, fewer roll models, more toy and junk food adds. Gone are the days of “Mr. Rogers”, “Captain Kangaroo”, and “Mr. Wizard”. I learned a lot from Mr. Wizard.
17. Children’s programming is bad enough as it is. The purveyors of our commercial riches do not want our children learning restraint, moderation, good judgment, or morality. With those skills, they won’t buy “the right stuff”, or enough of that stuff!
18. I have written about children, and their place in our society before:
a. Divorce Doesn’t Ruin Children, but Parents Do: http://wp.me/p4utce-5W
b. Has Our Society Lost Something Essential in the Rearing of Its Youth? http://wp.me/p4utce-dW
As I say in my title, let us not FORGET THE CHILDREN!
This post was written by Burton Hunter