According to research, 50 percent of marriages in the United States wind up in divorce. That’s half of the married population breaking their commitment to each other.
Divorce doesn’t just affect two people though.
More often than not, there are kids who equally suffer through their parents’ divorce, and spend the rest of their lives battling a war waged in their household and heart at such a young age.
Adult pain robs kids of their childhood. This kid’s letter to his divorced parents articulates those brutal side effects that tend to be overlooked when parents prioritize their own problems instead of leading by example.
“Dear Mom and Dad,
I know that you are hurting. I’m hurting, too.
I feel and feed off your tension, fear and shock. Although I’m young and cannot express verbally what is happening in our lives, I’m still feeling the impact. My heart is broken every time I have to give up a parent. My sense of security is lost.
Please don’t assume that I am resilient. Please don’t assume that my life will be exactly as it was and that I will continue to feel the same love from both of you. I am a human being just like you. My needs are just like yours. I need love, attention, nurturing, stability, consistency, affection, understanding, patience and mostly to be wanted.
When you fight over me or put me in the middle of your argument, you are sending me the message that winning with each other is more important than my life. I am learning from you that it is better to be right than to be loved. You are teaching me that I came from a person who is unlovable and wrong, and that I am somehow wrong, too.
When you confide your hurt in my heart, you are storing up adult pain and robbing me of my childhood. You are taking away my belief that love is unconditional and replacing it with a message that tells me to become hard and not to love because I will get hurt and not be able to recover.
You may not understand this today, and I am so small that you are not thinking about my future, but you are putting me at a greater risk of getting a divorce myself. At times you are risking my safety to fill a void in your heart. My safety is your job. Without you and your protection I am unshielded from the world. This will manifest in irrational fears for me, because I will stay in a state of fight or flight for most of my life.
Someday this initial shock will wear off, but how you choose to parent me through this crisis will never wear off. I will either feel your sense of selflessness, support and protection, or I will have a scar on my heart with a message that reads, “Good things happen to good people. I must be bad.”
Thoughtfully, The Child of Divorce”