Spoiled Children of Divorce


“It Affects Them Forever”
June 21, 2008, 5:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I tried to watch Oprah today because the show was all about Children of D. Oprah replayed a show from last year about how if parents don’t deal with their kids’ feelings about divorce then the kids will be destroyed forever. Oprah knows all, what can I say?

The show is about parenting, of course.  Not about being from a divorced family.  It’s meant to teach parents how to not mess up their kids.  Difference is that Oprah tells people that the problems that their kids develop will last with them for their entire lifetimes if not dealt with.  She tells the parents that they can help their kids.

Expert Gary Newman (maybe not spelling his name correctly?) talks about how the parents must not assume that their kids are ok just because the kids don’t talk about their feelings.  The parents need to get their kids to talk and Newman says that you do this not by setting them down in a formal chat session or by waiting for them to talk.  You talk about the Divorce while doing something else.  I thought this was a great idea.  He crayons with the little ones while they talk. Don’t know what he does with the insolent teens but Oprah says he can work wonders.  And the thing about the “opening up” is that it seemed to really be helping the people who were on the show.  I don’t mind therapy if it actually helps (which is rare I have to add).

Newman also differentiated fighting between parents in divorced and fighting in intact families.  This was great. I’ve never heard of a therapist who would distinguish the difference. Kids from intact families see their parents fighting and then they see them make up.  Fighting in divorced families never gets better.  It’s just fighting.  As a result, the kids become the stable ones in the family.  This is so true!

Unfortunately, most of the show in my area was preempted by the local news because of a tragic event so I missed huge chunks.  I saw the last minutes where a teenage girl who had been acting out through promiscuity looked like she really did get some closure over the tensions from her parents’ divorce.  She looked pretty young to be in that situation.  Her mother had left her Father seven years before because she had had an affair.  The daughter had witnessed the affair and had never told anyone until two days before the show.  This silence is so much a part of growing up in Divorce!  Seven years.  Most people my age don’t discuss it still.  The Mother actually admitted that she had literally not thought about her daughter’s feelings, she had been so caught up in her own stuff.  This is also so much part of growing up in Divorce!  What a relief to see a parent just say it.  I used to know a guy who had a really awful story that of course he never talked about with his parents.  When he was five he heard his Father beating up his Mother in the bedroom and went to see what was going on.  As he got to the door his parents started having sex. Not only a stressful situation from the fighting, but his introduction to Sex.  It was also the last time he saw his Father.  Am I the only one who runs into people with stories like this?  Most kids from divorce I’ve met have a story like this, well, not everything all at once and then never again like this, but the extreme level of tension that no one talks about.

I don’t think there was any discussion of step-parents, step-siblings, mixed families, money, and a host of other problems that seem prominent but as I said I missed most of the show.

One annoying thing was that Oprah kept insisting that girls handle the silenced experiences through depression while boys “flat line” emotionally and then fly off into rages.  In my family my step-sister and I became the rage-oholics later in life.  The boys somehow were allowed as adolescents to be angry and to crash cars and then they sort of mellowed out in depressed types.   Anyway, girls definitely grow up to have problems with rage.


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