Spoiled Children of Divorce


Stranger Danger
November 2, 2010, 12:06 am
Filed under: runaways | Tags:

I guess I’m doing this just to piss myself off.  Maybe I’m trying to avoid doing work.  But I just pulled two books on parenting off the shelves at the library.  They are both instructional books on parenting in the 21st Century.  You would think they were focused on raising Beaver Cleaver.  Is it 1947 yet?

In a world in which half of the parents looking for books on parenting the first one I pulled off the shelf is called:

Practical Parenting for the 21st Century:  The Manual You Wish Had Come With Your Child by Julie A. Ross, M.A., 1993

Doesn’t mention Divorce or Being a Single Parent or Being a Step-Parent in either the Table of Contents or the Index.  No Mention.  The book is a basic book about Tantrums, Eating Vegetables and saying Prayers at Bedtime.  Okay, fair enough.  I’m enough of a believer in the power of nutrition to think that a well-balanced diet and a good night’s sleep are valuable things to talk about in a child’s day.  I’ve certainly sat through some bizarre conversations with grown adults who feel completely traumatized by how their parents didn’t cook their vegetables correctly when they were growing up.

The second manual is called What Every 21st-Century Parent Needs to Know:  Facing Today’s Challenges With Wisdom and Heart, by Debra W. Haffner.

This book mentions Divorce in the Index on page 11.  It turns out that the first paragraph of the book is devoted to talking about Divorce and then drops the subject as far as Parenting is concerned.  1st sentence:  “There is no question that children today are growing up in a different world from the one you grew up in.  Most of you had married parents and a mom who didn’t work outside the home.”  What?!!  This book was written in 2009!  The author is obviously not from a divorce home, nor has she socialized with half of the people of her age.  Doesn’t matter.  The subject isn’t really discussed any more.

At any rate, the author is eager to discuss the weird stuff.  The hip hype.  She discusses media influence, positive affirmations and overscheduled children.  No mention of divorces’ role in that.  One Chapter calms the parents’ nerves about child abductions and sexual abuse.  The sexual abuse part seems important, you want to tell your kid to tell you when this happens.  How many divorcing parents suspect that an ex or an ex’s love interest is molesting their child?  But this Stranger Danger thing is interesting.  Very few of the 1 million missing children reports every year are serious kidnappings.  (There are roughly about 100 of these a year).  45 percent are runaways.  Most are teenagers, often dealing with love interests.  Only 1 in 13 is related to a custody dispute.

The book says that it’s really so uncommon that a parent need not worry too much about the Strangers which most parents are mostly telling their kids to avoid.  This means that the kids are growing up fearful of strangers.  Who cares?  She’s certainly not aware of how the immigrant communities raise their children.

This gets really interesting for a child from Divorce.  These kids are thrown into households with one or two step-parent and their kids.  You can’t find a stranger place to live in than that.  Yet it is not discussed at all.

Okay, I’m getting rabid.  I will stop.


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