Spoiled Children of Divorce


Children of Divorce, Stalking, CyberSex

I don’t know if Children of Divorce are more likely to become Stalkers, but according to the book How To Stop a Stalker by Detective Mike Proctor they are more likely to be victimized by stalkers.   I’ve already discussed Stranger Danger and Divorce.  I’ve already stated that I think that grown Children of Divorce become victims more often than Children of Intact families.

Here is a quote from the chapter “Limiting Your Stalking Exposure”:

“…dealing with cyberpredators has shown that children in the following categories seem to be more at risk for being stalked than others on the Internet:  those who are shy, withdrawn, and/or who have low self-esteem; those with a weight problem; and those who have divorced parents.  We in law enforcement continually encounter such youths, who become victims not only of stalking but also of other crimes associated with being bullied and harassed, usually by their peers.  They are continually searching for acceptance.”

This information is paraphrased by the author from a meeting he had with Investigator Mike Harris who, along with his wife Cassandra, specializes in law enforcement investigations on cyberstalking of children.  This couple was interviewed by Oprah.  This was 10 years ago so I imagine that there is now more awareness of cyberstalking.

Sexual solicitations can be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline (703) 274-3900.  I haven’t called to check if that number is still valid.  I wish that Psychology Schools would aggressively recruit burnt out cops because they could bring invaluable insight and skills into that profession.

I’ve said before that I think that introverted children might suffer from their parents’ divorces much more than extroverted children. I am certainly not an expert on this and am just giving my opinion but since no one else dares to have an opinion I might as well give mine.

I suspect that Divorce is a more comfortable experience for Extroverts than for Introverts.  I tend to suspect that Psychologists tend to be extroverts which is why they personally don’t think that there’s anything wrong with growing up in Divorced homes.  They also may have lower iq’s than the normal college graduate, and in most cases that average taxi driver, trash collector, electrician and plumber, but I suppose that will never be tested.

With all the media attention on bullying lately I wonder if any studies have focused on Children of Divorce to see if they are more or less likely to bully others.   I know that the folks from Intact Families who always have to state that they wished their parents had divorced are in a way bullying the Children of Divorce not to speak.  I mean, if it’s something that you always wanted, wouldn’t you be interested in what others who have actually experienced want to say about it rather than immediately butting in on their territory (so to speak) and whining with your grass is always greener problems?



Early Puberty and Growing Up In Divorce
May 18, 2012, 5:29 am
Filed under: Adolescence | Tags: , , ,

Heard an interview on NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross which mentioned a possible physical problem that seems connected with girls who are raised by single parents. Girls raised by single parents enter puberty earlier than their peers. Children are entering puberty earlier these days as a whole. The book is actually about breasts which are now bigger than they used to be and fuels of toxic chemicals. Some of the reasons thought responsible are diet and the rising obesity rates. Plastics might be connected as they simulate estrogen when they enter the human body. Chemicals can even enter a body through the chemicals in printed shopping receipts. This connects with children of divorce, of course, who must shop twice as much
because they belong to two households.

The researcher/writer interviewed was Florence Williams. Her book is called “Breasts.” .

Here’s an article which describes some of the findings by researchers regarding stressful childhoods and early puberty. 6 year olds are said to be most vulnerable to stress in the home. This correlates with the age of the first Jupiter opposition and maybe the first secondary progressed lunar opposition. Jupiter is connected with growth and the moon is connected with female
reproductive system. Girls who have fathers who have psychological problems such as addiction, alcoholism, suicide, etc. Also develop more quickly.



“A Separation”

The 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Film was given to a movie made in Iran.  It’s called “A Separation.”  It’s also a movie about Divorce, but the Hollywood film scene thinks it’s a movie about a couple struggling to make a better life for themselves in a different country. 

Anyway, this isn’t another immigration story with a happy ending. Unless you want to move to Iran because artists and intellectuals there are capable of expressing deep thoughts.  The IMDb database describes it as:

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

If that’s what the U.S. viewer thinks this is the story he’s going to see he’s in for a rude awakening, especially if he’s a divorced parent.  Or, at least I think he might get an awakening.   Divorced parents are pretty stubborn people.  Hollywood certainly didn’t get it.  If it had it certainly wouldn’t have given an award to it.

So, during the first scene you see the couple explaining their divorce to a judge.  They both give their arguments.  Things get tense, the judge has to tell them to shut up a couple of times and then they file for the divorce which the wife wants and the husband doesn’t want.  They have a 12-year old daughter who wants to stay at home with the father and grandfather. 

The Mother goes to live with her parents and the Father is faced with having to hire someone to stay with his Father all day long.  He hires someone who is not comfortable with the job.  Things get worse and worse and the caretaker ends up leaving the grandfather in the house alone tied to the bed.  This leads to the Father coming home and getting really angry and shoving her out the door.   Pregnant, she falls and suffers a miscarriage.  The Father is taken into court for murdering the unborn child and the dirty laundry and guilt/innocence of everyone involved gets aired.

Where things get interesting from a Child of Divorce’s point of view is seeing the divorce through the 12-year old daughter’s eyes, of course.  Through all the emotional traumas both the parents’ flaws come to the forefront.  One can see that they are both good people and loving parents. One can also begin to see why they don’t get along.  One can also see that they can’t discuss the other’s flaws with each other.  And while they can’t talk to each other they can easily tell the daughter what they are thinking and feeling.  She then relays the message because, as a 12 year old she is trying to figure the whole situation out herself.  The flaws sort of seem like trivial differences.  The daughter can see the games that men and women play with each other long before she learns about this from her own relationships as is natural. 

The daughter’s presence was strongly felt throughout, but I realized that her point of view was never shown until somebody asked her a question and the camera stayed on her face and she just stared off blankly not saying anything.  There it was.  The amazing silence!

After that I was emotionally involved with her.  Divorce is an extremely emotional experience about relationship failure, but during divorce people don’t think about feelings or relationships, they talk and they talk and they think it will all be okay once the papers are signed.  They are intent only on the action of splitting, even if it means splitting the kid in half.   The way the movie handles the silences and the communications is unbelievably brilliant.   The last scene brings an extreme emotional shock which brings this idea of Silence and the impossible feelings that exist within Divorced families. 

 What was even more shocking was to be watching the movie in a theater in California with mostly older couples.  California being the Divorce capital of the world, I can only assume there were some couples were working on second and third marriages in that room.  Either way, the air in the room was thick when I walked out, and, nobody was talking.  I hadn’t felt that in a long time because my parents have been dead a long time.  It would always lead to my step-mother making a weird sucking sound in her throat and to my Mother havin to go out and get drunk.  My Father would act as if the family were normal.  It involved guilt and denial and blame.  I always knew that life would be easier if I just avoided talking at those points.



Death vs. Divorce
February 6, 2012, 12:17 am
Filed under: Abandonment, Adolescence, Authority, Blame, Death of a Parent, Denial, Guilt, Leaving the "Nest"

Which is worse? Death of a parent?  Or Divorce?  The experts have said that the latter is, but the psych community is working hard to say that’s not true.  So, some courts mandate parenting classes and we’re all hoping that kids these days aren’t going through what we went through.

There’s a book published by the Hospice Foundation of America called Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents (edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Amy S. Tucci).  The parts I’ve read are really excellent, as is probably everything that Hospice does. It’s a thick book.  There are 420 pages in here.  This is obviously a very well researched subject. Growing up in Divorce is not.  You can’t talk about how screwed up the kid is when both parents are still alive I guess.

I went through both of these experiences, Death and Divorce, and I have to say that both were bad, but the problems associated with the Divorce were far worse.  I suppose one of the big differences is the sense that Choice is involved.  There is no choice with Death.  It is decided for you by a higher sense of life.  There is always the feeling that Choice is involved in Divorce.  So, if it turns out that the Divorce causes pain, then it seems to be a form of abuse that the parent inflicts on the child.  In probably most Divorce there is the sense that not only is the pain extreme, but that it never ends.  With each family function the old crap comes up.  With each adult relationship the old crap comes up.  I suspect that it is very helpful experience for raising your own children while going through a divorce because you already know what kills them the most.

Maybe things have changed during the last 5 years or so, but during my first therapy sessions years ago I was told that Divorce is a lot like Death.  It’s loss.  You grieve it and then you move on.  I never understood what they were talking about.  I hadn’t lost either of my parents.  I was attached to them like a ball and chain and was reminded of that a lot.

Then during my last therapy sessions about 6 years ago I was told that growing up in Divorce has nothing to do with anything an adult experiences later on in life.  The Psychiatrist warned me that she herself was divorced and a single Mother and that we probably wouldn’t do the talkie talk.  She sent me to someone who worked with angry teenage kids.  I was in my early 40s.  This person treated me with a barrage  of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in which everything I said was argued with in order to show me how illogical all of my thinking was.  I believe this technique is called “Reframing” but may be misinformed about that.  Kids from split families spend most of their home life doing reframing.  At any rate,  the therapist went on a 3 week vacation and I noticed how my anxiety levels had abated.  So I quit therapy for good.  I’m not any better but at least I don’t have to reframe my life into a lie each week.

So, I picked up this hospice book on grieving in order to see how the nice people care for the young. The only decent therapy I ever had was the grief group I went to after my parents died (run by a religious person, not a therapist) and browsed through it and noticed that I don’t think that grieving a parent through death is much at all like grieving the loss which comes from divorce.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone out there.  I’m just going to chat my way through some of what I read.  I am hoping for more definitions and maybe some clarifications.  (Mostly this post has become way too long.)

On page 146 of Living With Grief, there’s a section called “How can I help a child build skills to cope with the death?”  Coping seems to be the only thing that any parent going through a divorce has asked me about.  How can I help get the kids through this so they won’t be totally screwed up?  Then they describe how screwed up the ex- is, that they are BiPolar but on meds so couldn’t possibly still have a problem, and I can’t say another word.

That only happens occasionally, most parents purse their lips and change the subject.  Usually this reminds them to start talking about themselves.  They aren’t’ going to revisit that awful time of their lives.  Life is too short.

Anyhow, coping skills are always a great place to start with learning how to deal with any change in life.  You can’t argue with that.  So, how to cope with Death while in childhood?  Can we use techniques and insights thusly gained to learn how cope with Divorce during childhood?

The book says that Death is about permanent Loss.  A grieving child will never see that parent again.  How to help the child cope?

Divorce, as I said before is not permanent loss of a person.  Divorce is weird in this way because you never know if the child will ever see one of the parents again.  Parents come.  And Parents Go.  It’s not part of the plan, but after 20 or 30 years that’s what one will observe through hindsight.

Parents going through divorce are sometimes escaping wildly damaging marriages.  most often they are escaping boredom.  How do we lump these two sets of family types into one category of reaction?  We don’t.   What we seem to do is to ignore how different the situations are.

Divorce can be said to be permanent loss, but permanent loss of what? One or both parents may emotionally cave and decide that parenting isn’t for them.  A relative may take over.  Or both parents may fight over custody for the child during the rest of the child’s childhood.  Or, most often, one parent will recede and even disappear from the child’s life.  Both parents may stick around and work with each other and share the child back and forth weekly.  I say, if you think that your shared dog can not stand this much change in habit then how can your child handle it but what do I know?

Each situation will differ.  There’s so much to lose here, and yet, nothing really is lost.  The parent who disappears may reappear later on in the child’s life. This is a completely different emotional trauma from the initial divorce but brings all the feelings of betrayal, abandonment, rejection and mistrust straight to the fore.

The child of divorce has to completely separate his life between being a child of a marriage and being a child of two different people.  There is a huge difference there.  That’s a mighty big mental task for such a little person. Actually, it’s probably more difficult for a teenager or an adult because they will have experienced the parents as a single unit, such as it was.  The teenager will probably internalize the fears with a level of anger that will be confused with teenage angst and might never be able to break free from them.  A teenager whose parent has just died will at least have neighbors visiting for a couple of days who are wishing him well.  I can’t go beyond understanding anything else in that situation.

Then, there is the parental dating.  And then there are the parental remarriages.  The parent may have a whole new family in which he/she hasn’t made the same mistakes.  That’s great, but where does it leave the rejected child from the previous marriage?  I think I mentioned before about listening to the famous writer speak about being the child from the second marriage.  In public, in front of an adoring audience, she taunted and belittled her half siblings for not being able to drop their old wounds after all these years.  That’s sensible in a way, especially if you aren’t the one who endured your entire childhood in the rejected, poverty stricken 1st family.

These ideas might never occur to a person from an intact family, but they are probably in the back of the mind of the child who has to deal with such situations.  Maybe not.  We’ll never know.  Children of Divorce are a silent, practical crowd.

There certainly is loss of stability in home life.  Divorce tosses the child around from house to house.  From date night to date night.  Scheduling nightmare.  Lost keys.  Little suitcases printed with dinosaurs.  Sleeping in guest rooms.  The child will develop a defense with the outside world in making things look okay.  May act out in order to expose their feelings to the outside world which refuses to look. The child is either stoic and wants to appear as if there is a stable home, or that he doesn’t care that there isn’t, or that it’s fun to visit Mom in rehab.  When you visit Mom in rehab you know something that the other kids at school don’t know.  Children are mostly happy.  Childhood is mostly about play.  There is a natural coping within most humans, especially in children.  Usually the child who is better at avoidance and denial will succeed through this part of his life.  He will learn to be loveable.  The child will still have a home, but maybe he will have a lesser home.  He can’t complain because you can’t complain if your life depends on it.  Hell, some children will have two homes and will be called spoiled for that amazing experience.

There is loss of finances and loss of social standing.   Single Mothers are shunned by married women who don’t want to worry about having their husbands stolen.  This is true if through death or through divorce so there is a similarity here between the two versions of Loss.  They may be considered needy by the neighbors and friends.  They usually don’t make as much money as men and work at jobs that are unrewarding.  So they struggle with self esteem in the way that most Mothers from Intact families do.  Single Fathers, when sober, are generally embraced by neighbors, etc.  their wages are higher, often they have higher self esteem because they have rewarding social life.  Today they have custody of their kids more often.  Sometimes they do this because it’s cheaper than paying Child Support.   I think that’s a great thing especially when there’s no step-mother anxiety.

With all this exposure to parents who celebrate how much Choice they have, Children of Divorce have much more freedom that Children from Intact families do.  They can do a lot of stuff at home and no one will question it.  They have a lot more privacy as well because no one is paying quite as much attention.

There might be loss of a sibling if that sibling goes to live with the other parent.  Often the siblings become closer as a way of maintaining some semblance of real family.  Often this can fall apart later on in life when dealing with death of the parents.

Children of Divorce tend to have much more intimate relationships with their parents.  They have to be confidantes.  They have to help with housework and shopping.  Then there may be loss of privacy and intimacy if the parent remarries without letting the child adapt to the new strangers he/she will be living with.   The child knows he/she doesn’t come first, or even second.

There is loss of childhood as a child is witness to all sorts of adult issues.  I remember reading somewhere about a study (I mentioned it somewhere on this blog) about how people tend to take their first marriage seriously, and after that they are much more concerned with finding people who they share similar tastes in pleasure activities with.  So maybe this means that they will play with the children more.  Or maybe it is just intrusion into the child’s secret, magical world of play.

There may be loss of friends.  The child may become a burden on the neighbors or friends’ families who try to take him in.  The child may become withdrawn and isolated.  Or the child may just stay out with his friends late at night, or by himself.

There might not be as much food in the refrigerator.  And there might not be someone at home to cook it.  That’s a loss. This would occur with death as well.  There is definitely a need for study of nutrition in this regard. Food can become a big part of Loss in a family.  There is no grief ritual about bringing food to a divorced parent.

I suppose that Divorce is more like a backward version of Death.  In most cases, you appear diseased to the outside world after the event, rather than before it.

I remember reading a story in Stephanie Stall’s book The Love They Lost about a boy who felt that he didn’t suffer as much from the divorce because his Mother was determined to keep the family (sans dad) together by maintaining meal time every night.  It so happened he would have been going through his first progressed Lunar Opposition.  Moon  represents Mother and Food and Eating so I suppose that this was a great way to help a child of that level of age development in particular.   He was getting what he needed at the time so he held no deep resentments.  It would be good for him to try to protect himself from some sort of unconscious backlash during his progressed Lunar Returns either way.

The book says that a hard part of the  Grief process is dealing with Loss of Control over events in life. Obviously children who naturally need to be in control will struggle more than those who go with the flow.  So, I suppose that it’s important to look for particular personality needs of each individual child.  Little control freaks may grow up to be super control freaks.  Or they just may not be able to handle taking risks later on at all.

Death, unless caused by murder, is nobody’s fault, of course.  In Divorce, blame shoots out all over the place.  Divorce is the parents’ fault and they must learn to live with this.  If they don’t, of course, they will blame each other and the kids.  Children going through 1st Saturn Return Cycle transits will probably internalize this stuff more.  Perhaps also children going through Venus Return transits as well.

With divorce there is also loss of control over the actual event but probably it is felt just as much over people and relationships.  If you learn nothing else from divorce you learn that you have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s mind.  From the kids’ point of view,  there might be a strong desire to get the parents back together by acting out.  This is natural.

The child can try to separate a parent from a step-parent by acting out and manipulating.  This will happen to the child who has lost a parent.  Children of Divorce often have twice as many parental units going at the same time which makes for a more complicated situation.  And, of course, step-parents will often do their share of acting out.  For some reason, the divorced parent never seems to be the reactive one in these relationships which is something that I can’t figure an explanation for.  And that’s definitely another story.  And, of course, all the blame is put on the child eventually, especially in the teenage years.  The parents, those of the Second and Third Marriages who are seeking pleasure in relationships rather than sacrifice (serious stuff and no fun at all), are stuck in their own teenage years will project this on to the child.

I don’t understand how remarried parents stand back from this and watch their child writhing in emotional pain without ever seeking an explanation.  Just let the kid ride it out.  Often, I suspect, all it would take would be a couple of honest comments such as, “I’m sorry.” and “I’m trying to include you in my quest for the perfect life and I guess I misjudged how you would feel about that.”  and “I hope to work with your other bio parent in order to lessen the stress which has been caused for you.”   But, parental guilt and authoritarian impatience is an amazing thing, especially when it is so bound up with one’s love life and own selfish needs.

The Hospice book on grief  talks about Intervention.  It says that no children will suffer from therapy or intervention in trying to deal with loss from death.I believe that the Hospice grief counseling I received was either free or inexpensive.  Therapy for divorce is freakishly expensive and, in my experience, hurts.  And, if you can’t express yourself then you must not be feeling anything.  You will simply have more deja vu experiences in relationships when you are older than your peers.  “I feel like I’ve been through this before….”

In grief counseling, according to the book, it is probably best to try to focus on “At Risk children”.  There is discussion about how some children will react immediately and some won’t react for years. So determining who is At Risk is difficult.

I’m not sure if therapists try to determine which children might be more At Risk than others in Divorces.  By the time a kid seeks help it’s probably too late anyway.  The Astrology seems to show clearly how a child might be at risk.  If you divorce during your child’s first prog. Moon and Saturn squares and oppositions you are putting that child at high risk.  Moon and Saturn directly affect the parenting and home life expression from the child’s point of view.  You can make up by making sure that the child receives some semblance of what these planets rule, such as the case about the boy whose Mother insisted on maintaining mealtime.  Moon and Saturn can lapse into depression and emotional problems and deep insecurities about how to deal with failure and success.  If you divorce during the Jupiter transit cycles the child may act out and then seem okay.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion.  He’s sort of the connector energy between the playfulness of childhood and the optimistic adult who looks forward to what’s next.  On the flip side, Jupiter internalizes anxiety like nobody’s business.  It will put up a convincing facade.  It will express by overdoing or having unrealistic expectations.

In the end, maybe Linguistics is the best way to determine how a child will react to a divorce.  How can a 3 year old who is exposed to Daddy’s jealous girlfriend, truly focus on this issue until she is much older and has been through a few divorces herself? How does she find the words to express how she felt when Step-Mom did her first catty put down?  How does a teenager who is exposed to a Father’s rejection because he’s got a new family, how does that teenager absorb that into the self esteem issues that teenagers are going through both physically and socially?  Perhaps there is a way to understand how a 3 year old with a 3 year old’s understanding of relationships and limited vocabulary be able to process what its parents are doing.  Maybe there is a way to calculate vocabulary and grammar skills of the 3 year old and balance with vocabulary and grammar skills, along with life experience of the 32 year old parent along with the levels of the 25 year old jealous girlfriend and come up with a sum of what exactly is going on in the child’s head and to understand typical emotional fallout for such trauma.  Ridiculous?  I agree.

At any rate, grief therapists say to let the child know that the death is not his fault. This is a strong component in divorce therapy as well.  I’ve personally found that it may only apply to a very limited amount of children.  The 2 year old who seem to really need to hear it (they are just finishing up returns of planets Mars and Venus who are responsible for relationships matters).  Older children will probably side with one parent and blame the other parent.  He or she will know who is shirking responsibility.  Won’t understand the whole story behind everything, but will know where someone is messing up.  Teenagers are critical of their parents.  It’s part of the individuation process.  Where does all this extra blame stuff have a place to go then?

Blame and Guilt is such a big and obvious problem in Divorce families and Step-Families that I’m not even going to go there with that idea.  Parents will in the end blame the kids if the kids cause problems.

The grief book says that helping a child to maintain self esteem after a death is important.  At this point interactions with family members can be negative because everyone is going through the loss.  Parenting can be harsh for a while.  Counselors are advised to deal with this issue through the technique of “re-framing.”  You say things like “Things may be bad now, but they will get better.”  Haha.  Again, I don’t think that this will work for divorce.  Kids going through Divorce are doing pretty much nothing but “Reframing.”  Look at things from Mommy’s point of view.  Look at things from Daddy’s point of view.  Grandma?  GrandPa?  Older brother?  Little sister?  Reframe.  Reframe.  Reframe. Everyone is seeing things from a completely different perspective.  Most are looking at their lives from angles that they themselves have never looked at them before.  We just have to get through this adjustment period where we’re all in shock.  Are we all happy now?

Tell that to a kid who has to cope with a depressed mother who is committing suicide everything 3 months.  Parental suicide is a huge second rejection for the child who realizes that he’s not worth sticking around for.

Divorce for most children of divorce is all about turning 18 and getting out of the house.  Many of the children of divorce just want to have simple lives.  Love for many of them is an extremely complex neurological overload.  They know that Love isn’t permanent.  Their parents don’t love each other.  Their parents could stop loving them at any moment.  They might do things to test the parents in that case.  Probably they don’t.  They may need more reassurance.  They may become obnoxious if given too much reassurance because most humans do.  Often they have to think of their parents’ love on very flexible terms.  Their status within family will have to change over and over again with each new relationship the parents get in to.   This last one is similar to children who have lost a parent from death.  But, those children will still have only one family unit.

In divorce,  often the parents use their kids.  Actually this seems to be addressed by most experts.  But, who in divorce can afford to seek the advice of experts?  A single parent, though, is going to end up using the child as a substitute friend, shrink, housecleaner, cook, parent, etc.  Kids will play along.  Actually, if they sense that this is play maybe it really won’t hurt them as much.  Breaking away from these relationships is extremely difficult for young adults.  Because of the divorce it is often handled the same way as the divorce was.  The removal will be more like a cold hearted rejection that involves guilt and worry rather than opportunity to move out and into one’s own life.

Kids might be aware that their friends’ lives are a bit easier or simpler.   Everything is chaotic and or becomes a scheduling nightmare.  Divorce home life is simply not as easy as their friends’.  Probably the odd behavior is a good thing.  A life lesson on how to cope.

Children of Divorce might benefit, however, by having a very close and intimate relationship with a parent.  This may or may not be healthy, but is generally considered unhealthy by outsiders.

The grief book discusses briefly how children in various stages of Child Development react to death.  Most of the research is from the 1990s.  According to researchers Speece and Brent, whoever they are, there are 4 components to understanding grief:

Universality:  The idea that death is inevitable and happens to everyone.

Nonfunctionality:  The idea that all life functions cease at death.

Irreversibility:  The idea that when things die they do not come back to life.

Causality:  Ability to understand objective and biological causes.

Looking at this one can easily see how different Divorce is from Death.

The authors say that young children understand Universality and Causality.  Interesting that Nonfunctionality isnt’ part of the deal, but perhaps children have a naturally religious point of view.  Maybe I wrote down the notes wrong.

But in terms of applying this Grief therapy to a Divorce situation it really shows some interesting stuff.  Most of these show that children are concerned with the physical understanding of Death.  How the body works and why the person isn’t there anymore.  Universality and Causality have nothing to do with dealing with Loss through Divorce because nobody dies.  Nonfunctionality can be argued by anyone who believes in reincarnation which supposedly children are very good at understanding.  (Ian Stevenson’s research).

The big one that I suppose Children of Divorce have to deal with is Irreversality.  Some kids have known all along that their parents should get divorced so they don’t spend the next 5 years hoping their parents will get back together.  But many live with the hope that the parents will get back together again.  Usually the parent who gets dumped is living with this wish as well.  I knew someone whose parents divorced and remarried three times so sometimes this is based in reality.  I remember asking my Father to come back and being shocked that he just simply said No.  He left overnight and that was that.  (He had been having an affair for a while though so he had known what was coming on, if anyone ever knows that type of thing for sure).  His parents had divorced when he was a teenager but had gotten back together again.  He said that life was a lot better during the time when they were separated.

So death of relationships is nothing like death of the physical body.   At any rate, one can see how different it is to not look at loss through Divorce in terms of grief therapy having to do with death.

According to this research, younger children are more likely to feel watched by deceased parents.  They are also more expressive than older children with their feelings of grief.

Older children are more likely to talk to their friends about death.  I wonder how this works out with Children of Divorce.  I personally remember not being able to talk about the Divorce.  I remember some kids telling me how it was without asking.  Each child is going to experience this on a personal level.

The book also discusses gender differences in how children react to loss from death.  This seems very different from how they react in divorce just from my own personal observation.  Girls who grieve death are said to have social and relationship anxiety and boys are said to Act out.  In divorce I wonder if these roles aren’t divorced more often.  I think that the girls might act out more.  One would hope that this is a boon for the feminist movement, but I sort of think it happens most often because of competition and control issues with female parents, both biological mother and step-mothers.  Boys in divorce are definitely more inward and sensitive thinking.  I’ve always thought that was a good thing because I like thoughtful men.  But, that’s probably why their suicide rates are so high.  They compare themselves with other boys who are encouraged to be aggressive and self centered.  They may feel that they have to fill in for their Father’s absence and take care of the women in the family.   I suspect it makes them more desirable with authority figures, but may hurt in their ability for leadership roles as they don’t project strong authority stances.

Wow, this turned out a lot longer than it should be.



Parental Alienation Syndrome / Custody Fights / Nathan Grieco

This post has grown a life of its own.  Don’t know if I’ll be able to get it under control.

It started out when I picked up a used book called A Kidnapped Mind  by Pamela Richardson.  Haven’t read it yet, but Richardson discusses her custody fight for her son which ultimately led to her son’s suicide.  Richardson discusses how Parental Alienation Syndrome destroyed her son’s life.  The Father had alienated him so that he refused to see his Mother.  Since the boy is dead we can’t hear his side.

Then I somehow got distracted by the story of the man who coined the term “Parental Alienation Syndrome.”  Dr. Richard A. Gardner was a psychiatrist who wrote the first book about Children of Divorce.  He coined the term “Parental Alienation Syndrome” in 1985 and self published a book about it in 1992.  Gardner was divorced twice, had three children a son and two daughters. His astrology chart is really interesting to look at in this regard.

(Astrology stuff:  Gardner’s chart reflects the current huge outer planet t-square that we have been currently going through in his chart.  In the Cardinal Signs, strongly related to relationships on one pole and to family on the other pole.  Uranus, planet of divorce, is conjunct the North Node in Aries (conflict).  This squares an opposition of Saturn in Capricorn (strong influence of Father style of parenting, empirical science) to a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Cancer (Mother, Power, Law).  Just as he was developining his theory about what goes on in these areas in 1985 his progressed Sun was changing signs and was at 29 Gemini-1 Cancer.  That point will bring one’s views before the public, in this case, views having to do with family.)

His theories are highly debated because he did not publish through peer related publishing methods and his ideas are considered non-scientific.  Mostly he defended Fathers whose ex-wives bad mouthed them to the children so that the children would not want to see their Fathers.  What grabbed my attention was the fact that Gardner committed suicide in a really gruesome way.  First he tried to overdose.  When that failed he stabbed himself to death.  This was because he was in pain from a disease called reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Sorry, but that was just more interesting to me because it was so brutal.

Then I was, of course, curious about the stories about how the courts would side with Gardner’s testimony over the pleas of children in custody disputes.  When confronted by the fact that he had set the children up with abusive parents who had then been hurt by their parents he didn’t show any remorse.  Well, that sounds pretty typical especially connected with children and divorce.

The most painful story involved 3 boys in Pennsylvania who were forced to visit their Father by court order.  If they didn’t show up and if they didn’t act happy around their Father the Judge threatened to send their Mother to jail.  That’s not legal and it’s really weird, but, hey, this is divorce.

The oldest boy, Nathan, was so distraught over his screwed up life that he committed suicide when he was 16. The kids were 4,6, and 8 when their parents split.  They grew up and during the year that they were 12, 14, & 16, when they were at the age when kids are supposed to be breaking away from family stuff, the parents and the courts were forcing them to continue to act as if they were 4, 6 & 8.

The astrology is what is grabbing me here because it possibly fits with my astrological theories which connect the planetary cycles with understanding how trauma will unfold in children later on.  It will possibly show how each particular child will react to the trauma and what kind of time frame to look for in order to understand future times when the trauma will resurface.

Nathan Greico was 8 years old when his parents divorced.  Age 8, as I’ve discussed is connected with the first Saturn square in a child’s level of development.  Saturn is related to first stage of maturity, the Father, restriction, depression, social grace (authority and the courts), and depression.  As a person, Nathan was not very good, apparently, at social and physical activities.  I don’t know what that means exactly but he was being treated for ADHD (and I haven’t got a clue what that means except that it shows that he was on drugs).  As I’ve said, I suspect that Ages 7-8 are among the worst for a child to go through parents’ divorce because they represent ages of development that will directly be affected by homelife, tradition, parents and parenting and are often connected with not feeling safe and not being able to handle failure.  In overly simplified terms, Moon is moodiness and feeling picked on.  Saturn is bitterness, guilt, and depression.

Age 8 also figures strongly in another cycle which I wonder doesn’t involve Nathan’s natal chart.  I wonder if he had a conjunction of Sun-Venus.  It would fit too well if he did.  This is because there is a cycle of the Sun and Venus Rx which repeats every 8 years and often you can see this 8 year cycle strongly figured in their charts, hopefully not the traumatized version.

I noticed that when Nathan committed suicide on Feb. 27, 2007 there was a conjunction of Venus 1 Pisces to the Sun 9 Pisces.  The sign of Pisces is often connected with feeling suicidal and like a lost cause so that could be enough of a motive to end it all if things are not going well.  And, as I say, I have no idea what Nathan’s natal chart looks like.  But, Age 8 is the earlier completion of a cycle of these two planets together.  Venus is the sign which rules marriage, harmony, partnerships.  A person who has this planet strongly figured in his chart is thought to become very distressed by any lack of balance in his life because he is extremely sensitive to it.  The Sun adds an element of self-expression of self confidence and wanting to express one’s self creatively and openly.  Often when these planets show up in a negative way, they are also related to suicide.  Sun rules a heightened sense of drama.  Venus represents Love and just doesn’t want tension.  Nathan was upset about everything Venusian.  He had just written about how upset he was over a break-up in his love life and over his parent’s ongoing custody battle and this forced visitation with his Father.  The problems with the Father began when the Mother remarried and the new step-father came in.  The Father’s reaction became subversive and violent.  There is no discussion about Nathan’s feelings about this.  If a Venusian he might just be more upset by people who are fighting rather than wanting to be the dominant male in the family the way other boys might figure in.  It’s also very interesting that he was involved in an argument over brainwashing which could be construed as a Venus type of problem.

So, as theoretical as this is, I suppose it shows another example of what I’m talking about.  Perhaps what to look for in individual children.  And what to avoid. And when.

Article about Nathan Griecohttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/FAMILYCOURTREFORM/message/4183

The Pittsburg paper wrote a really great series about the Greico Divorce and the misuse of Parental Alienation Syndrome as used by the courts in child custody hearings.

http://www.post-gazette.com  http://www.post-gazette.com/custody/parttwo.asp

The surviving brothers talking about how the minute they turn 18 they are out the door.  The older one says that he will bring the younger one with him.  Protective.

Here’s another article about how this theory is sending more children into harms way with abusive people:

Mar. 2, 2011 article from SF Weekly newspaper:  California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody”  by Peter Jamison.

The basic argument, I guess, is that it’s great that parents want to stay in their children’s lives.  But, people who are going through a divorce are really not the healthiest people in the world to be around.

copyright 2011.  All rights reserved, spoiled childrenofdivorce



Article About Adolescents Going Through Divorce
March 10, 2011, 12:33 am
Filed under: Adolescence, Astrology stuff, links to articles

Link to Psychology Today article “Parental Divorce and Adolescents” addresses attitudes of Adolescents going through Divorce which are different from younger children.

The split off date is Age 9.  The ages noticed by this author, Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., correspond with the Nodal Axis Cycle.  Age 9 represents the first opposition that the Nodal Axis makes to itself.  This is supposed to be a time of confusion in anybody’s life, divorce or no divorce.  Age 9 is also the time of the first Lilith Return, that’s the Dark Side of the Moon, in divorce especially.  I don’t want to go there.

Kids under Age 9 are dependent and attached to their parents.  Kids over Age 9 and up to Age 18 are rebellious and going through a splitting away from parents.  They will often mimic their parents’ self-serving attitudes. Age 18.9 is the first Nodal Return in a person’s life.  The Nodes are connected with the life path and destiny.

Children Age 15-18 have special needs related to expressing Love and Romance.  That relates to the 8 year Sun-Venus Cycle which people with Sun-Venus conjunctions have.  Friends and Social Skills are very important in the life at this time.

The article is oriented towards educating the parents.  There’s a good set of vows spelled out that Divorced parents ought to try to follow.  A lot of advice is to give the children a lot more responsibility.  This corresponds with one of the major partial cycles, the first opposition that Saturn makes to itself at around Age 14.  The Jupiter Return occurs around Age 11.  That’s when the real party begins for those kids who are born to party.  The secondary Progressed Lunar Opposition occurs usually about 6 months before the 1st Saturn opposition.  That’s related to family as well but is connected with a phase of moodiness and introversion and sensitivity.  Jupiter’s pretty jolly except for occasional bouts of over-doing things, but p.Moon and Saturn can be related to depression if the parenting is inadequate at this point.  The phase is related to growing maturity, and physical changes, of course.  Jupiter might be related to Sex, Moon to Reproduction and then Saturn to Social Status and Goal setting.  The oppositions are hyper sensitive to others as oppositions often represent relationships.