Spoiled Children of Divorce

Book About Spoiled Children
September 7, 2010, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Astrology stuff, Books

Have been mindlessly perusing a book I found in the library called Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child:  How Parents Can be Both Firm and Loving and Help Their Baby Develop Into a Secure and Well-Adjusted Child by Burton L. White.  Kind of strange that the author who specializes in child development of up to 3 years old doesn’t seem to discuss divorce, meaning that he doesn’t seem to be aware of ALL THE SPOILED CHILDREN OF DIVORCE WHO ARE PLAGUING THE WORLD THIS VERY MINUTE!!!

Okay, Okay, calming down, inhale, exhale.

At any rate, babies begin to start crying With INTENTION at age 5 1/2 months.  And so, if Mom and Dad fall for that the kid will be a totally demanding mess for the rest of his/her life.

Hmmm, 5 1/2 months by Astrological Cycle standards.  Is there any way to associate these with why a baby would suddenly understand that he can intentionally make demands?  That would be around the time of the first Mercury and Venus oppositions (oppositions, relationships, balance) and the first Mars square (challenges).  Venus is probably the planet associated most with being spoiled through rulership of money and possessions, anything sugar coated.  Venus through Libra rulership can feel incomplete as a person, and, in an undeveloped state, will always be looking outside him or herself for Happiness.  (Venus rules the Feminine principle).  Mars is the planet associated with going ahead and doing what one wants regardless of what others think (the Masculine principle).  Mercury is the Trickster.  I wonder if it’s Mercury’s cleverness that is associated most with “Intention.”

At any rate, the writer tells parents how to decipher a real cry from an intentional one.  I have noticed that as someone who doesn’t have children I tend to assume that all children are crying intentionally just to be a pain in the ass.  I think this is probably true of how most step-mothers approach step-parenting.

The really interesting thing about Burton L. White’s work is that he separates the phases of development by the Jupiter Cycle.  He says that if you handle the first two years correctly your kid will be happy and easy going (Jupiterian words) by the Age of 3.  Then he says that Age 6, around time of first Jupiter Opposition, there’s another phase of development in which “Spoiled” will come up.  Basically, Jupiter’s negative side is that he overdoes everything.  Jupiter doesn’t handle restraints and barriers very well.  Often it’s really fun when Jupiter is overdoing things because generally he does it with fun and flair.  When you say that a person is acting “Full of Himself” often you are sort of describing his Jupiter side.  Jupiterians tend to be Charmers.  In adulthood I suspect that it’s more the Saturnians who are spoiled as adults.  Saturn will demand things left and right and it’s much more complicated a situation to deal with on an emotional level because Saturn tends to rule depression and feelings of failure and compensation.  I’m dragging my feet writing about the Saturn cycle at this point.

As I’ve said before, Childhood as described by the Astrological Cycles is described by the Inner Planets.  It seems to end at around the time of the first Jupiter Return which occurs around Age 11.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Rick Moody

Interesting NPR radio show (http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201009021000)  that I again heard only a portion of while driving in the car.  Writer Rick Moody is promoting his new book and discusses his other books.  The Ice Storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ice_Storm_%28film%29) was made into a movie so there was a humorous chat about that.  He says that he wrote the book in response to the “Rabbit” series of books written by John Cheever.  I haven’t read the books myself because I read a couple of short stories by Cheever and I didn’t like his tone.  He comes across as the over-privileged, superiority-complex-ed White Guy standing in the room at parties very smug in his attitudes about everyone else, and especially the daughters.

And it’s interesting that Moody says that The Ice Storm is written as a sort of kids’ revenge story on the parents because they reflect that awful 1960s and 70s disregard that parents had for their children.  That’s exactly what I remembered from the stories.  Growing up,  I know that most kids were afraid of their parents.  Certainly these are the parents who created the Divorce Boom.  This was the beginning of the great experiments in relationships.  Families got thrown in as an afterthought and I think that new families moving into the divorce and step-family thing sort of think these were happy times.

So, I had to look up The Ice Storm.  As usual, haven’t read it.  I saw the movie and I do remember being stressed out by it, but all I can really remember is the theater I saw it in.  No offense to Rick Moody.  I sort of stop reading novels after my Father died for some reason.  I really enjoyed listening to the NPR show today and highly recommend it.

So, of course, I was curious to see if Rick Moody is a Child of Divorce.  Found this in an interview on a blog about him (The Black Veil which is referred to is a memoir that Moody wrote – a reviewer called him something like the worst writer alive, probably just got offended because he said that the divorce hurt him):

Moody’s biography can seem a little conventional. Born in 1961, he lived in a scatter plot of Connecticut towns until, at 15, he headed off to boarding school. Amid this, Moody’s parents divorced — ”We were the first in the neighborhood to achieve that milestone,” he would write in The Black Veil — and his problems began in earnest.

Those problems included marijuana, hash, quaaludes, PCP, LSD, cocaine, speed and heroin, in addition to copious amounts of alcohol and “bad jags of promiscuity” (The Black Veil, again). Moody still managed to get into Brown University (he studied with John Hawkes and Angela Carter) and to get closer to his dream of becoming a writer (he attempted his first novel at 11). He earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University and got a job at a prestigious New York publisher, but his life, physically and emotionally, was no longer on a sustainable track.

Kids Who Move Around A Lot

I’m trying to read what is considered a classic book on child rearing, the name of which I can’t really remember, something on Nurturing?  It’s written by a woman who says that kids will turn out the way they turn out whether they have good parenting or not.  It tests the Nature v. Nurture theories in order to let the parents off the hook.  Needless to say it’s been a bestseller.

The book is highly praised by Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Pinker so it has to be good.  And it’s fun to read, the writer lists all kinds of interesting studies and has a strong voice/attitude.  And then I start to get hot-headed about the stupid Children of D comments.  Watching the dance around talking about growing up in a split household is so unbelievably unbelievable.  The writer, can’t remember her name, will get it at some point, talks about a lot of the same studies that Paul Ekman talked about in his book, but from the point of view of the modern woman who is free to do as she pleases in life in order to pursue her happiness.  She does discuss Divorce, about maybe 30 pages worth in a book that’s about 400 pages long.  In those pages there is the stupid argument about the study that says that kids who grow up in Divorce are more screwed up than the kids who suffer the death of a parent.  She, the writer, rebutts that idea saying  it would surely be a whole lot worse to have had a parent who died of AIDS than to have have divorced parents.  What is the ratio of kids who had a parent who died of AIDS to the kids who are growing up in Divorce?  I’ve never met someone whose parent died of AIDS so I really can’t say.  So, a lot of the arguments are unbelievably immature and silly. A kid from a divorced family whose parent dies of AIDS has to go through the whole process by himself without the support of a healthy family to share the experience with.  Now, there’s something to feel bad about.

The writer says these things sort of in the same obnoxious tone that I say stupid things so it doesn’t bother me all that much (but I will point out that they are stupid arguments).

What does bother me is that all the arguments about how Divorce isn’t a difficult situation for a kid to grow up are stuck in the Chapter on Dysfunctional Families.

For one, when you are growing up in Divorce you are not necessarily growing up in a dysfunctional family. You might be growing up in two dysfunctional families.  You might be growing up in two functional families but you are strangers with half of the members in each and don’t really feel like you belong anywhere.  It is highly likely that you are growing up in one normal family and one dysfunctional family, depending on which parent enters a 12 step program (or not, their preference).  And the members of the normal family will constantly discuss how abnormal the member of your dysfunctional family are, but they acknowledge that they can do nothing to help you with that problem which makes you totally hate functional people who are generally very self-involved and concerned about their own self-preservation.  And, anyway, the only people who really view themselves as being functional are the shrinks, of course, and we all know how far from reality that is.

So, at any rate, the writer of the book on nurturing, or how we don’t need nurturing, says that one of the real problems for children, the thing that really does cause stress for a child is moving around a lot.  It turns out that the writer’s family moved around a lot and she’s set up the entire tone of the book around her own experience and needs.  She doesn’t discuss packing suitcases or traveling on airplanes alone so I don’t know how much she really did move around as a child.  I mean, by some kids’ standards, she probably had a pretty stable environment.  I mean,  a lot can happen inside the silverware drawer in one parent’s house during the week that you are at the other parent’s house.

So, folks, there are studies out there that say that kids who move around a lot during childhood are more stressed out than kids who don’t move around a lot.  Does this sound like something that many kids from divorce go through?  Why can’t the writer and her buds make this mental leap?  How difficult is it really to connect the dots here?  I know, I know, talking about how divorce wrecks the kids is a marketer’s nightmare.

You know, it really doesn’t matter as long as the CDC refuses to add California to their Divorce Statistics.  How can you claim to have any statistics at all about Divorce in the U.S. if you don’t include the most populated state, the State where everyone moves to and divorces a year later in order to find themselves?  The housing in California is so expensive and tight that many kids from Divorce live in the closet in their Mothers’ apartments for the first two years after the divorce.  Is this cozy?  Why yes, it must be.  That’s why Mommy’s going to school to become a shrink.  So she can help others to not feel guilty about making their kids live in the closet too and then if everyone’s doing it it must be right.  Right?

Another Escape Artist – Colton Harris-Moore

In a previous post I wrote about Child of D Frank Abagnale, Jr. who was featured in a Leonardo di Caprio movie (and in his own book) Catch Me If You Can.  It looks like another escape artist/criminal child has now been caught.  Colton Harris-Moore of Washington State was caught in Bermuda after running from the law for 2 years.  Clayton escaped from a half way house in April, 2008 and has been evading the police ever since, surviving mostly by stealing.

I had to look if he was, like Abagnale, Jr. a traumatized child of divorce.  It seems that he has a large fan base.  Have to admit, after reading what I can find about his childhood I’m a fan as well (well, not of the crimes).

According to Wikipedia, Colton Harris-Moore was born Mar. 22, 1991 on Camano Island, Washington.  His Father walked out when Clayton was 2 years old.  Clayton’s last memory was of his Father trying to strangle him. 2 years represents the first Mars Return.  And Mars represents violence.  And this is an example, of course, of a Mars Return child in extreme stress. Clayton’s Mother remarried but Clayton’s step-father died when Clayton was 7.  This would have been around the time of his first Lunar square.  There is a possibility that Mars and Moon are in conjunction with each other in Clayton’s chart.  This is an aspect showing great emotional volatility.  But, if both planets are in the sign of Gemini this also shows Clayton’s extreme cleverness in escaping from capture.

How this connects with astrology of Clayton’s chart is amazing.  Clayton’s natal Mars is probably highly afflicted.  It is squaring his natal Sun and possibly in conjunction with his natal Moon.  Both of these contacts can show a person with some impulse control and anger issues on their own without the stress.  They internalize the conflicts that the parents have with each other.  The prominence of this aspect in Clayton’s chart is amplified because Mars and possibly the Moon are both out-of-bounds.  This means that their influence is extra strong.  This configuration is also connected with the Aries points because the Sun at least is placed there.  This explains Colton’s fame as planets on the Aries Points bring a person into the public eye through those planets.  Transiting Pluto is squaring this natal aspect and Pluto also brings Fame (and capture).

Colton’s natal Mars is at 25 Gemini.  He had his Return before his 2d birthday.  When he was turning 2 Mars was going through a long retrograde in the sign of Cancer which indicates a lot of emotional stress at home.  He was probably under the influence of his first progressed Lunar Square at age 7 when his step-father passed away which could exaggerate the tension of Mars-Moon-Sun even more.

Natal Saturn is at 5 Aquarius opposing natal Jupiter at 4 Leo.  Clayton has a good understanding of how people relate to each other on a political level.  He is also a risk taker.

Abagnale, Jr. turned his life around.  I hope that Clayton can figure out how to do the same.

Once again I don’t feel good about putting him under the Bad Child of Divorce category.

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.

Comments Off on Exemplary Children of Divorce – Junot Diaz

Two New Movies: “Twilight” and “Rachel Getting Married”

I haven’t been going to many movies lately but this week-end I’ve gone to two.  Both were about Children of Divorce.

First was Twilight.  It’s a teeny bopper Vampire movie.  The heroine, Bella, a high school Junior, moves to the Pacific Northwest to live with her Father who she hasn’t really spent much time with.  Her Mother has just remarried a baseball player who travels around the country a lot so she can’t keep Bella around.   Relations with Dad are awkward and there are a lot of telephone calls with Mom.  Nobody, absolutely nobody, is angry.

However, the Pacific Northwest being what it is, everyone is pretty much depressed and pale, very pale.  What a great situation for meeting and falling in love with a Vampire in Chemistry class.  Vampires like the sunless landscape because they can hang around during the day.  Anyhoo, all kinds of trauma erupts out of from this awkward, romantic, very steamy and innocent relationship.  The Vampire is sort of a Vegetarian vampire who doesn’t kill people but he sure does lust after their blood.  Bella throws herself right after him because she has some sort of compulsive need to prove that she can trust a guy with such intense instincts to hurt her.  Is that Child of D stuff, or what?  At any rate, I guess Vampire psychology involves all things that can wrong with … Blood Ties, ah hem…

I didn’t know what I was going to see and I liked the movie okay.  The kids who read the books seem to universally think the movie is awful.

Out of curiosity I tried to see if the writer, Stephenie Meyer is a child of D.  Apparently not; she just really worshipped the Brady Bunch as a kid.  That’s so annoying.

The other movie I saw is called “Rachel Getting Married.”  It’s a psychological drama about being psycho in a family setting.  Kym is the psycho, very well performed by Anne Hathaway.  She is an addict who is getting out of rehab to attend her Sister’s Wedding. The tensions of adjusting to real life in such an intense week-end sort of brings out her whole story.  At 16 Kym committed an unpardonable sin while high and has to confront all of her family members over this for the first time sober.  All the while preparing for the festivities.  By the time she puts on the Brides Maid’s dress she is covered with scratches and has a Black Eye.

The relationship with the parents is well portrayed from a Child of D point of View.  The Father is the dominant care taker. He’s loving and caring and completely forgiving.  The Mother is the negative character who is left out and can’t deal with her sub-par role in the whole hierarchy.  The Step Mother is totally cool and never complains about a thing.  She also doesn’t leave the Father alone for a minute with the kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if these filmmakers really do come from Divorce. One of them certainly must be a step-parent.

Both movies portray positive images of Step Parents.  That’s good for the Step-Parents.  It might be good for the kids as well as they might get a piece of their inheritance down the road if they maintain a low profile in the family.

As a matter of fact I’m seeing nothing but positive images of Step-parents in the media.  The new Coke commercial has a joyous jingle for the Season about the joys of Coca-Cola and Step-Families.  Since all kinds of new scientific evidence is coming out about the toxicity of carbonated beverages I guess this makes sense.  Plus, we all know who is in charge of Daddy’s money — Step-Mothers are a great target for the marketers.  (Reminder:  I’m not talking about all step-parents here, only the ones to whom it applies.  Unfortunately, these people don’t know, or care, who they are).

I’m beginning to notice the way that Step-Mothers are very critical of Biological mothers.  This happens in the movies and it happens more in real life.  (Miaow, the cat fight never ends.)  It certainly happened in my family.  Women are still treating each other like poo.  Liberation has a ways to go.

Neither movie showed Step-Sibling relations.  The relationship between Rachel and Kym in “Rachel Getting Married” is very strong.  Sibling relationships that go through this extra stress, of course, are going to be different from those in Intact families.  Either the bonds are stronger or they are considered as ridiculous and expendable as the parents’ marriage.  I don’t know if studies have been done.  Probably not.