Spoiled Children of Divorce

Runaway Children, Abductions and Divorce
April 19, 2010, 6:53 am
Filed under: Abduction, High School Drop Out, runaways, Uncategorized

Chicago article finds link between kids from divorce and runaways.  Kind of a strange comment in the article saying that kids run away because they think they are responsible for the parents’ split.  I sort of doubt that, but who knows?  Why can’t anyone admit that living in a divorced home is just extremely stressful?

I wish there were some sort of alternative lifestyle for kids to go to in order to get away from a difficult home(s).  If other family members can’t take them in, then they should be able to go to a trade school where they can train for a job while making enough to live and perhaps take classes one day a week to stick to a college plan.

All kids from divorce need to go to College and finish.  I didn’t finish.  It was a mistake.  Big mistake.  If you can’t have a family to fall back on you at least need credentials to fall back on.

If I were to advise myself about what I should have done at that point I guess I would have suggest taking the GED and applying to College early to see if I could get in.  Emotionally I wouldn’t have been ready, but considering the life I led after my parents’ divorce I was being prepared to not be emotionally ready for anything for years.  It would have helped to have taken the situation in my own hands for my own health and well being.

I used to collect the advertisements that used to be printed on milk cartons and used to be sent in the mail because they gave birth dates and I wanted to see if there is a signature in a child’s chart to be a victim of abuse.

“Have You Seen Me?”

It turns out that most of those faces belonged to kids going through custody battles.  The fliers and advertisements never openly stated that because it’s never okay to admit that children growing up in divorced homes are going through hell.  These aren’t the kids who are studied by the psychologists.  Their existence is manipulated out of the statistics.

P.S. I never really found out the Sun Sign that is most likely to be abducted.  For a long time it was looking like the Virgos were going to win.  They are very lovable little kids.  (In no way, do I want to make light of children who are victims of any type of abuse here, whether through strangers or through parents or whomever. )

14 Comments so far
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Some states do have the Job Corps, which could be an option for some kids (I think it might be income sensitive), but it is geared more for late high school age than college age.

Comment by dragonmctt

Thank you for the information. I was referring to late high school age kids. Although it would be a sacrifice to leave high school, it might be a great move to be able to get out of a bad housing situation. At this age, they are going through so much socially and biologically that the extra stress and lack of stability can cause some real damage. A job and exposure to healthier adults might provide some stability to help them get through.

Something else I’m thinking about would be a offer a mentor program as well. Somebody connected with colleges and universities in a topic the child is interested in, just to help them gain exposure to the world outside of themselves and a positive goal and direction to move towards in life. It would be really cool if the kids could attend a monthly (maybe more frequent even) meeting with all different types of people. Just to keep the kids’ brains open to what they can accomplish. Just a thought.

Comment by toothless

I know in my own situation, I just wanted to get ‘away’. I had extended family to turn to but that simply wasn’t ‘away’ enough for me. I like you, did this late – I was in College. Stupid, stupid move, and when I really think about it, I was already ‘away’ in a sense since I was living on campus. It just wasn’t ‘away’ enough either.

Stress does strange things to even smart people. Maybe this phenomenon is a form of self mutilation. The need to take control of something you can because in every other area one feels powerless.

Comment by Carolyn (The Grown Up Child)

Thanks again for your comment, Carolyn. Yes, I read about your idea of trauma and since I’ve been working on the astrology project with that in mind I definitely agree with it.

Tell me about what stess does…. I’m a walking stess zombie. I can see how self mutilation could be an anxiety response to needing to take control of something.

Bet there are tons of studies of self mutilation but they don’t connect to divorce. Shrinks’ questions just always stop right before mentioning the Big D. I’ve been there so many times. It’s even worse if you mention it. You either get the stupid “Puppy Dog Face” about how we know that kids from divorce suffer (along with no answers) or you find that you’ve just said it to a divorced parent who is in denial, and is determined to stay in denial. That’s the problem with talking about “control.” It applies to so many other people who have agendas.

There’s some stuff that we really just benefit from not being exposed to. An out of control divorced home is definitely one. Just because our parents are doing it to us doesn’t make it ok.

Comment by toothless

With regards to self mutilation, it is usually (as I’m sure you know) always related to sexual abuse and more specifically incest. The psychiatry community almost looks at it as an A(person) + B (self mutilating) = C(history of incest).

One night a while ago, I was showing my mom, who is a sexual assault counselor, a message board I had commented on to ask her advice on the reply I had left. The person had posted an agonizing message about their situation (parents divorcing) and had written that they were wanting to hurt themselves. Although I thought I had written something helpful, I thought it wise to get a professional’s opinion.

My mom got kind of worked up about it because sexual assault victims are trauma victims. That’s the cornerstone of her work. And her specialty (as well as with all trauma counselors) is in post traumatic stress disorder because pretty well all sexual assault survivors suffer from that.

She was getting excited because she said, what if us children of divorce were trauma survivors as well? The definition of a trauma is something that is unexpected, painful, that we can’t stop and impacts us significantly. And if you look at us as trauma survivors, then chances are we suffer from post traumatic stress disorders as well which can explain a lot of our behaviors. Following that line of thinking, self mutilation may not only be evidence of incest. She saw a huge potential for some research.

Interesting stuff to ponder, anyway.

Comment by Carolyn (The Grown Up Child)

Hey Carolyn,

I completely agree with the idea that divorce is a trauma for the child for the reason that you explain. But, when you consider that everything that happens to a young child is basically out of his control, then everything in childhood is traumatic. I think that’s why it’s actually helpful for children to be told gory stories and ghosts stories. Sort of confirms their fears and shows them how to distance themselves mentally from situations and things they don’t understand. It also helps when parents kiss the boo-boos.

I thing that self-mutilation can happen for multiple reasons. It’s dangerous, like illicit sex, so maybe they come from the same emotional source. I suspect that many teenage self-mutilators in their teens are often doing whatever their friends do. I think it’s probably considered “cool” and dangerous like smoking or taking drugs. My best friend in high school did it just because her Mother read her diary (which had sex related secrets, Ill admit). Two of her friends were cutting each other up. I don’t know what their situation was at home, but I know that they were rich kids and rich kids do a lot of this stuff because they live with way too high of standards at home. My second cousins really were sexually abused by their Father. One cousin even gave birth to his kid. Both girls were very fat. People wouldn’t talk about the sexual abuse but they always commented on the weight problem. It was disgusting. I clawed my legs a few times because I hit a place where I couldn’t handle my Mother’s screaming anymore. I had to transfer the emotional pain to the physical part of me just to get through the night. Right there, multiple reasons. Fuck Freud (there’s your sexual connotation, teehee).

Comment by toothless

I just found your blog and in perusing the articles, I found this one.

I don’t think there is any way to tell why some children of divorce run away. It’s going to be different for every child.

And every home situation is different. While on the whole, children of divorce fare worse, and many children of divorce fare much, much worse than than their peers from intact families, whether or not people finish school, or not, or become successful, or not, depends both on the person and the situation.. How does each person cope? Whether it’s a conscious choice or not, we’re all doing the best we can, and coping in different ways. Some cope through excessive responsibility, while others cope through trying to find love outside the home, or trying to find someone or something else to believe in. There are some who sabotage themselves, no doubt about that. It may be a cry for help.

My point is that it depends on the person. We all have to cope the best way we know how, and sometimes, life seems so overwhelming, that running away is “the best way” for that time, for whatever reason.

If we can teach kids to cope positively with their emotions, maybe they wouldn’t run away. Maybe they could finish school. Maybe they’d confront the lemons life throws at them and make lemonade. Maybe…Just a thought.

Comment by familymattersok

Why shouldn’t people study the differences? The few studies that have been done have shown drastic differences in quality of life and perceptions of family between kids from divorce and kids from intact families. Your argument is prehistoric and I just can’t go there with you. Kids from multiple households very often runaway from one parents’ home to the other parents’ home at some point during their childhood. If they runaway and live on their own they will generally fall in with addicts and mentally ill kids.

Kids from divorce are much more likely to live in poverty. They are much more likely to be abused. They are much more likely not to finish college. They have no family to fall back on. They are living with strangers who are constantly reminding them of how miserable the situation is. What’s your dumb ass question again? Oh forget it.

Comment by toothless

I agree with you, toothless. I don’t know what I said that made you so upset. I study the differences. I’m an adult child of divorce. I understand that it’s difficult, as it was for me and my sisters.

I’m not sure what you are upset about. All I said was that different kids run away for different reasons. Some will run away because they blame themselves. Others will run away because the conflict is intense. Still others will run away because they are being abused. I agree with everything you are saying…I am an advocate for children of divorce. I never said that people shouldn’t study the differences.

What was it about my argument that you found to be prehistoric? I didn’t even realize that I was arguing with anyone.

Comment by familymattersok

Oh. Sorry. I over-reacted and mis-understood. I thought you were brushing the situation off which is a pretty common attitude. I’m sort of becoming too used to thinking that everyone who visits this blog is a psychotic step-parent. And right now I’m stuck on looking at the astrology charts of stressed out 5 1/2 year olds and I guess I’m acting like one.

There are so many kids growing up in Divorce right now that I sort of assume that most people figure that there is no reason to look at their situation as anything different from the other kids. At least that’s how it’s been for a long time. Of course you are right that within this huge group are a wide variety of situations and different types of people and there are no set answers or rules. The kids of divorce who grew up and are living “normal” lives are subjected to the stigma of being included with the juvenile delinquents just because they grew up in inferior family situations. That’s always been unfair. I think that the kids who have struggled with emotional problems, or will struggle as a result, have an even more difficult situation because their situation is not studied at all. So I get fed up really easily.

Sorry again. Maybe I should turn the comments off until I get up to Age 8. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks. I’m entering some bad ages for astrological return cycles right now. (If you want to wreck your kids’ lives, put them through a divorce when they are 7 years old.)

Comment by toothless

I understand. No worries. I’ve dealt with the dismissive set too.

My youngest sister was 7 at the time of our parents’ divorce. She developed trichotillomania. Their early stage of cognitive development and inexperience makes them particularly vulnerable to physical manifestations of anxiety.

Not only are people not studying the situation, but even among those that recognize the problem, we often hear “that’s so sad” with no work toward helping them. I’ve studied the solutions for years…Let me know if there is anything I can help you with. I’d love to read your research. SashaMTownsend@gmail.com.

Thank you for taking the time to study the problem. It’s the first step in getting people help.

Comment by familymattersok

Hi Sasha,

I just looked at your blog. It looks like you are doing some really great work. I’m publishing what I’m working on on this blog, but I don’t think it’s comprehensible. I was trying to write astrological techno stuff for people who don’t understand astrology and it is just coming out in gibberish. Plus, I’m just not a great writer.

That’s very interesting about your little sister and the trichotillomania. There are some interesting correspondences with the astrology. I’ll email you. If you know a lot about child development especially as it applies to children of divorce I have a lot of questions.

So glad to hear from you.

Comment by toothless

I’d love to see your work and discuss some of the implications with you. Please do email me at SashaMTownsend@gmail.com. My specialty is child development. Our programs for parents and teachers and our volunteer training includes information developmental milestones, typical reactions including fears, feelings, and behavior, and many ways that adults can help.

The goal of our nonprofit is to acknowledge the problem, but also realize that kids aren’t doomed. It isn’t a death sentence. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if adults are willing to step in and take responsibility to help!

Please stay in touch. I am interested in your work and would love to talk to you about child development.

Comment by Sasha Townsend

Hi Sasha, sorry I’m taking so long. As I said I’m stuck at age 5 1/2. I’ll email you right now.

Comment by toothless

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