Spoiled Children of Divorce

Children of Divorce in the News This Holiday

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  It’s time to let go of what doesn’t work and take on something new that hopefully will work.  If Life were really that easy I suppose I wouldn’t feel quite so stupid saying that.

At any rate, it’s good to take a look at some mistakes that were made this Holiday Season in the hopes that we ourselves will never let things get that out of hand.  We can count our Lucky Stars if this didn’t happen to us.  And those Children of D who have endured the Holidays in silence and have maintained a decent behavior — CONGRATULATIONS!!!  Pat yourself on the back.

The First Story is from Christmas Eve.  In the news is a Horrifying Step-Father story from Covina, California.  Psychotic over the loss of his job and wife, with Divorce final on Dec. 18, Step-Father Bruce Pardo showed up on Christmas Eve at the home of his ex-wife’s parents dressed in a Santa Suit.  The wife, Sylvia, and her children were living here and the family was having a party.  Pardo had packed a bunch of semi-automatics into a box, wrapped it with care, and shot his first victim, an 8 year old child, in the face as she opened the door for him.  He then shot as many other people in the room as he could (I believe the death toll was 9, with 3 injured, the little girl who opened the door has survived).  Pardo then poured gasoline in the house and lit it on fire.  His Santa Suit caught fire and melted on his skin making the planned escape to Canada impossible.  Pardo killed himself later on in the night at his brother’s house.

Ex-wife Sylvia was killed as were her parents.  Sylia’s nephew was killed but Pardo seems to have targeted the adults.  Sylvia’s three children survived but 15 children lost one or both parents.  Story:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-santa-shooting28-2008dec28,0,78314.story

The Second Story is a Christmas Day story.  A great tragedy about the trauma of switching between Mom and Dad’s house comes out of Twin Falls, Idaho on Christmas Day.  Father Robert E. Aragon was driving his children to their Mother’s house when his car got caught in the snow.  He told his children to get out of the car and walk the 10 miles to their Mother’s house in the snow.  The children were in their pajamas.  They got lost and were separated.  The son, Bear, Age 12, found a rest stop bathroom to stay in and was found later that evening. The daughter, Sage, Age 11 was found in the snow the next morning, having passed away from hypothermia.

This is a really difficult story of mis-communications between parents during the stressful Holidays.  An article from the local Twin Falls newspaper says that Aragon had full custody of his children and was simply trying to take them to visit their mother on Christmas Day.  He’s very hard working but he shovels manure for a living  and it sounds like he may have a drug problem.  Hey, shoveling poo everyday while worrying about how to feed your kids, who wouldn’t have a drug problem?  Another story told from the same newspaper tells about the confused communications from the Mother’s point of view:   http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2008/12/29/news/top_story/151765.txt.

May Sage’s soul Rest in Peace and may her brother be okay.  I personally hope that the Judge is lenient with Robert Aragon and insist that he go through Rehab (a long rehab, he’s got a lot to talk about at this point) and to give him job training rather than sentencing him to jail.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Quincy Jones

I heard Music Composer and Producer Quincy Jones in an interview on NPR this afternoon (Nov. 27 or 28, sorry for late publishing).  Part of the discussion was about Jones’ childhood which he speaks about with a rare openness.  His Mother was schizophrenic and spent much of her life in a mental hospital.  In his Autobiography he describes watching the authorities strapping her in to a straight jacket and hauling her off.  Jones’  Father remarried around the time that Jones was 11 years old and he moved the new family from Chicago to Bremerton in Washington state.  His Step Mother was a bad influence who treated Jones and his younger Brother very badly, giving them less food and clothes than the other children.  I’m listening to the audiobook version of his Autobiography and can’t quote exactly but Jones describes her handling of the children in the Household in that she “Divided the kids into three categories:  His, Hers and Theirs.”  Jones’ schizophrenic Mother periodically escaped the Mental Hospital and eventually followed her sons to Washington where she both terrified them through her illness and tried to stay in touch with them. 

In the interview, Jones describes living in his Father’s household as “living with strangers.”   He gives good advice about how one must not hold these experiences in.  For him this happened mostly by escaping into his music.  It helps that he had huge amounts of talent.  The music industry can be very hard on someone from this background who doesn’t have quite the level of talent  (– that’s just a warning.)

I highly recommend the audiobook.  Most interesting, of course, is listening about Jones’ accomplishments in his profession.  He met Ray Charles, for example, when he was 14 years olds and Charles was 16.  But Jones’ insights into his family are very helpful.  He talks about his anger at his parents and how he blamed his Father for what was happening more than his Mothers “Because he was the one who kept it together.”  This is true.  You really do blame the one the most who is reacting to the whole situation with the least amount of reaction.  He talks about not understanding how he was much less affected by what happened than his younger brother who used to cry every night.

During an Internet search I found this article (http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/jon0int-2) in which he describes his childhood and how his brother’s reaction to the family situation was so much more negative.  I wonder if a lot of the reason for this is , of course, 1) inherited genetic disposition to mental problems  which would be the only thing the psych people consider (which is why they can’t actually help anyone). Birth order (Jones is eldest) could also be a huge factor as I’ve discussed before.  The oldest seem to be the ones who make it out, they always have someone to face the problems with and they always have the youngest to come home to as a stable base.  The youngest have longer exposure to the family and must deal with it by themselves after the oldest have left. They have no stable base.  And, of course, another reason could be that the younger brother didn’t have the talent and/or luck of his older brother.  Jones was extremely gifted and successful from an early age and his talent was recognized.  He found an identity early on outside of the family and left the home early, around Age 16.  This seems to be a key factor in surviving bad Divorce situations.   Those extra years of waiting to get out are a real spirit killer.

I also found an interview with his son Quincy Jones III who also speaks briefly about his parents’ divorce when he was 3 or 4.  He moved with his Mother to Sweden.  He talks about his relationship with his Father, his Mother’s addiction, his childhood, the divorce:

TONY: How much of your parents divorce did you understand and comprehend? I mean, you were pretty young.

QD3: I never thought about it until I turned 15-years-old. My parents got divorced when I was 3 or 4, and me and my mother and sister moved to Sweden. I was probably too young to process it. And I didn’t think about it until I was going through a photo album when I was 15-years-old, and I was like, “Wait a minute, we don’t really know each other that well.” And I’d visit him in L.A. on summer break, but for the rest of the year I was in another country. I would sometimes bring Michael Jackson records to school (in Sweden) to show my friends what my father did, and they would laugh and think I was lying because we lived in public housing. And it kind of struck a nerve, and I started thinking about it a little more. Then I was around 16-years-old, and I moved to East Harlem, New York and later the South Bronx, and then to L.A. Once I moved to L.A., we started bonding a lot more. Now we’re good friends and we’re also very alike in many ways.

TONY: You talked about your mother earlier and her battle with drug addiction. Personally, my mother passed away after a long battle with prescription medication and alcohol. If someone is reading our interview and dealing with a similar situation in their family, what’s your advice on how to deal with it?

QD3: Sorry to hear that, it’s tough, because in my situation I tried to help her my entire life and tried to “fix” the situation. And I was not able to do it. So I would say try to be as objective as you can and try to have compassion for your parents. Also know that it’s not your fault, that’s the main thing.

It’s up to you if you want to break the family cycles. With the pain comes long term benefits, and I might not have been drawn to socially relevant media had it not been for my upbringing and some of the stuff that I went through when I was younger: Having seen both extremes of society first hand (rich/poor), having to grow up quick and moving a lot gave me the tools, drive and empathy that I needed for the job I want do now which is build an (urban) multimedia company (qd3.com) that creates programming of substance that is relatable, empowering, deals with “real” issues, is entertaining and has residual value to viewers. My background gave me the ability to relate to all walks of life and levels of society organically, from the ghetto to the elite, so I feel I was put in a position to build helpful bridges of understanding between various demographics through media. So my advice is believe in yourself and try to find a way to turn your past into a benefit. Painful experiences give you drive, strength and compassion to do bigger things than you would otherwise have been capable of, use it as fuel.

from:  http://www.nobodysmiling.com/hiphop/interview/87592.php

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz is an MIT professor and Pulitizer Prize Winner and Child of D. I’ve passed by his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao often in the library and in bookstores, but I didn’t know until I heard an NPR show this morning (Nov. 27 or 28, 2008? sorry I’m publishing this a few weeks behind) that Junot Diaz writes variations on memoir about his childhood which includes long separations from his Father.  Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic.  His Father went to America early in his life and so was absent for much of Diaz’s childhood.  Later on the family joined the Father in New Jersey but his Father left them at that point.  This happened in 1979 when Diaz would have been around 11 years old.  In the NPR Interview Diaz says that he writes from the point of view of growing up as a poor immigrant but he also describes life with an erratic Father presence.  I haven’t read his writings but it sounds like he does touch a bit on the subject of separation.  Mostly he seems to speak from the point of view of immigration — there’s a bigger audience for this, a complaint that America is proud of rather than interested in sweeping under the rug, ah hem…

Divorce among Immigrants is certainly an interesting topic.  Although I have no personal experience in this area, I’ve heard a couple of times that Immigrant families will stick together out of necessity because of moving to a strange place.  If that tends to be true a separation connected with a move to a foreign land would make for an extra complicated childhood.

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Exemplary Children of Divorce – Courtney Cox
December 22, 2008, 10:48 pm
Filed under: College Drop Out, creativity, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Uncategorized

As I’ve said before I don’t like to add a whole lot of Actors and Actresses to the Exemplaries List.  Not because their lives and feelings don’t count, but just because Superstardom is sort of an unusual life experience that doesn’t apply to a lot of people.  A whole lot of it depends on having the “It” factor and so much of real success in life comes from hard work, determination, self-confidence, intelligence, etc. 

(Also, I suspect that Children of D might overall be more attractive than kids from Divorce.  I think that it might be more difficult for attractive and magnetic Parents not to give in to temptations like having affairs (and being vain and egocentric and arrogant) and so might be more likely to do things which lead to having multiple relationships in life.  They are more likely to want to pursue something better and bigger and more perfect in life.  Their kids might be better looking and more genetically enhanced from a physcial stand-point in this regard and so more easily successful in fields that require such attributes.  This is just a supposition of mine).

Actress Courtney Cox is the Actress best known for her hilarious portrayal of Monica in the Friends series on TV.  Turns out she’s a Child of D.  Cox’s parents divorced in 1974 when she would have been around Age 10.  Her childhood is described on Wikipedia here:

Cox was born Courteney Bass Cox in Birmingham, Alabama to a wealthy Southern family. Her parents were Courteney (née Bass) and Richard Lewis Cox, a contractor.[1] Cox has two older sisters (Virginia McFerrin and Dottie Pickett), an older brother (Richard, Jr.) and nine half-brothers and half-sisters. Her parents divorced in 1974, and her father eventually settled in Panama City, Florida, where he opened a company called Cox Pools, while Cox grew up with her mother and her stepfather, New York businessman Hunter Copeland.

She is speaking out in the link listed below about how her own attitude to her marriage is reflected in her Father’s attitude to his Divorce.


This is the revealing part:

Cox’s parents parents divorced when she was a child. “Before my dad died, he said one of his big regrets was that he hadn’t worked on their marriage enough. I don’t know what the future’s going to hold, but divorce isn’t really an option,” she said.

How much is “enough?”  Who knows?  Each family is different.  What’s right for one person, or family, isn’t right for another person or family.  Thing is, the kids are part of the marriage.  They also have to live with the divorce for the rest of their lives.  Something that the parents don’t really have to do.

Newsweek Video / Mom’s House-Dad’s House Every Other Day
December 22, 2008, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Good for Newsweek Magazine!  They seem to be lone voices in the media for Children of Divorce.  Of course, they don’t seem to show the difficult stories, nobody would buy the magazine if they told much of the truth, but, still, they are bringing up the socially acceptable parts of growing up in Divorce.

This link shows a 14 year old girl, Charlotte, who switches back and forth between her mother’s and father’s houses every other day and she seems very happy to do so.  This is possible, of course, because she lives in Brooklyn and her parents live only 10 blocks away from each other so she can walk back and forth between houses on her own.  God help the kid who has to sit around waiting to be picked up by parents for a ride back and forth between homes.  The parents get along and seem to be friends at this point.  Step-parents and step-families aren’t discussed, if they exist.  Both parents seem to be financially stable.  The parents divorced when the girl was 2 years old.

Charlotte says that she prefers to move back and forth between houses every other day because it would be such a hassle to catch each parent up on a whole week’s worth of activities if custody time were split on a weekly basis.

Here’s a link to the video and the written story along with many reader’s comments.  For some reason the Divorced parents have to keep wedge themselves in on the discussion and whine about their own problems.  I’ll just never understand that level of self-absorption.  Oh well.:



Yahoo’s List of 2008’s Top Ten Most Influential Women — Children of D?
December 15, 2008, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Exemplary Children of Divorce

Yahoo has published a list of the women it considers to be 2008’s greatest influences in the World.  As usual, my information may not be accurate because Divorce is often not discussed in Child of D’s biographies.  Politically it is incorrect to admit to such a childhood until after one is very secure in one’s success in life.  On the list I have found two definites:  Angelina Jolie and Oprah Winfrey.  Barbara Walters’ parents may not have been divorced (which is different) but her Father was absent from a lot of her childhood.

Here’s the Link:  http://buzz.yahoo.com/yearinreview2008/women/.

Here’s the List:

Angelina Jolie:  YES

Sarah Palin:  NO

Oprah Winfrey:  YES

Hillary Clinton:  NO

Gina Carano:  NO

Tina Fey:  NO

Michelle Obama:  NO

Katie Couric:  NO

Barbara Walters:  Myeh…  NO

Dara Torres:  NO

December 9, 2008, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
coddle children grow up divorce 2
stepmothers that steal the kids 2
julie andrews’s divorce from tony walton 2
bad step family stories 1
long term effects of poverty 1
spoiled stepdaughters 1
traits of a spoiled adult 1
divorce because i don’t have a personali 1
evil stepdaughter gets fathers backing 1
stepmothers and stepdaughters 1
clifford geertz children 1
vikings alcoholism 1
statics on broken homes 1
hamlet +orestes 1
spoiled step children 1
rachel getting married psychoanalytic th 1
definition of traits for kids 1
indifferent parents 1
dateline nbc parental alienation 1
nobody saw rachel getting married 1
success story barack obama 1
why do children rebel with the divorce o 1
divorce websites for children 1
when did john lennon’s parents get divor 1
what to do about awful step children


Above is a list of today’s seaches so far which led to somebody, somewhere finding this blog.

One can see that there is absolutely no interest in the psychology of what it’s like to grow up in a Divorce home.  Except that some wicked step-mothers are empowered by compulsively googling insulting comments about their step-children.  Why can’t the psychologists medicate these bitches?