Spoiled Children of Divorce


Ask Amy
November 21, 2011, 8:59 pm
Filed under: biological, Blame, Living with Grandparents, Long Term Fallout, Stepfamilies

The advice columnist Ask Amy tries to tackle the issues of how to deal with kids and divorce.  Her advice isn’t great because she doesn’t take a stand but at least she publishes articles from all sides, from the point of view of the parents that is.

The Biological Mother who resents the ex-StepMother calling the kids “her own:” 

The StepMother who resents not being able to call her stepdaughter’s kids her “Grand children.”  This one is interesting because the blame is placed on the daughter. No mention of how overwhelming it would feel to have to take car of your first child, your Mother’s resentment of the overbearing and needy step-mother, as well as the overbearing and needy step-mother.  Oh and there’s the noncomittal father who doesn’t give a shit but mostly blames his daughter for his wife’s b.s.  The message is written as if the Father had written it.  Which never happens because Father’s never intervene, so obviously the column is bogus.  Amy says that he can’t expect anyone to “reason” things out.  I think the daughter is being extremely reasonable about how much she really owes her parents.  She is probably trying to not repeat their mistakes, after all, and in that case, the girl-child can’t give into everyone else’s selfish needs all the time or she will end up hating her husband just the same way her Mother probably hates her Father.

Anyway, Amy does actually publish this stuff, so at least she’s not in denial that the issues exist.  Advice columnists, like Psychologists, are like large corporations.  They know where the bread is buttered and they side with the money.  Amy could tell the parents that their situation is simply way too stressful for most children to handle and to back off.  I guess that would get boring to read week after week.  And who wants to confront an overbearing woman who has taken on the role of “Stepmother?”



British Family Courts: Out of Denial But Into the Wayback Machine

If a couple in England plans to have children then they had better not get married. The courts have completed a new study which rewrites the laws to try to put the welfare of the children first.  Boy, this is really shocking.

A review on family justice which was headed by a man named David Norgrove has just published a 220-page study on divorce which is intended to become law.  I’m not sure if it actually is law at this point or is just pointing out that current studies show what is actually best for the children.  And that’s scary.

The study suggests that couples do their own divorces rather than jam up the legal system.  I’m sure if they could, they would, but anyone who has seen a divorce from a kid’s point of view knows that parents going through a divorce don’t exactly think in logical, straight lines.

Nearly half of all British children will become Children of Divorce by the time they are 16 years old.  That’s higher than in the U.S.

Britain has free health care and can track children’s health better so probably can truly look at the effects of divorce on children. One of the following links says that 75 percent of children are said to suffer significantly from their parents’ divorces.

Grandparents have very restricted access to their grandchildren and will have to apply through the courts for access to visit grandchildren.  There’s something in this that I’m not understanding.   In the U.S. I doubt that Grandparents create worse conditions.  I think that kids whose Grandparents let them live with them are in better shape a lot of the time.  I think that this might be true if there is only one boy in the family, because Grandmothers probably favor their grandsons.  That might not be true, but, who knows?  There aren’t any studies in the U.S.

I’m not sure what the study actually has to say about this but there appears to be a tightening on father’s rights as parents.  It has been decided that children suffer too much from being shuffled back and forth between households so Fathers will have less access to their children.

I agree that the shuttling back and forth seems nuts to me, but I think that it works in some families.  It’s great that the courts are aware of this and it’s too bad the parents and the shrinks stayed in denial on this one.   In the U.S. there are studies about how boys suffer from divorce because they don’t have Father figures, so I doubt that back-peddling into the single Mother household mentality helps.  Boys end up hating themselves if they have to see how much their Mothers suffer because they are alone.

To be honest, I doubt that daughters will suffer too much by having limited access to their step-mothers and step-sisters in most cases.

I think that it’s much more important for courts to make certain that remarriages don’t screw kids out of their education, healthcare, and inheritances, than by trying to intervene and deny parent-child relationships.  Those are areas which I think a court should write in to the law.  If the parents can’t provide an emotionally safe situation for their kids then I don’t think that the courts will help by controlling who has access to the kids.  In the end, I agree with Norgrove, but I don’t think that his study is coming up with the correct solutions.

It would definitely make sense if Britain completely got rid of marriage since the divorce rate is so high anyway.



Fresh Air Interview: The Memory Palace

Writer and Artist Mira Bartok is interviewed by Terry Gross on the NPR program Fresh Air about a memoir she has written called The Memory Palace.

I’m assuming that Mira Bartok is a Child of Divorce but the Big D is never mentioned in the interview.  Mira’s relationship with her Father is briefly mentioned to say that he left the family when she was 4 years old and Mira moved with her Sister and her Mother into their Grandparents’ house.  Her Mother, an accompalished pianist, suffered from schizophrenia and her Grandfather seems to also have some sort of mental illness.  Both Mother and Grandfather were violent.  Mira and her Sister have both achieved success in life working in the humanities.

The blurb which drew me to the interview said that Mira began to understand her Mother’s illness better after suffering traumatic brain injury when a Truck hit her when she was 40.  She suffers from memory problems, both short and long term.

The interview with Terry Gross mostly discusses what it must be like to have a mentally ill family member who ends up homeless because their behavior is impossible to treat.  I wish there had been discussion about how it might be different to be the child of a mentally ill parent as I feel that sets up a different relationship dynamic than for a parent to deal with a mentally ill child.  It’s much easier to get a child into treatment than it is for a child because the parent is used to giving the commands rather than receiving them.

At one point Bartok says something like (not an exact quote most likely):

“We (she and her sister) needed to be safe and we needed for someone to keep her safe.”

I think that this is what parenting is all about and I think it is a huge problem for Children of Divorce, whether we want to say it or not.  The parents think that if they assure the child that he’s loved that this is enough.  But, then, the child marries a new partner and does nothing to protect the child from entering into the new relationship at his own emotional speed.  Since Bartok is probably around the same age that I am I know that girls of our generation were rarely considered “safe” when left alone.  Probably this is less so now but I don’t have a clue.

Bartok’s Grandfather died at some point, not sure what age she was at that point.  She placed her Grandmother into an eldercare program in 1989 and her Mother’s situation deteriorated very quickly after that.  By 1990 she was homeless.  There is great discussion here about how and why Bartok couldn’t take care of her Mother and didn’t talk to her for 17 years.  Her Mother lived to be more than 80 years old and the homeless shelter where she had lived for a few years before her death is named after her.

Am really interested to read this book.  Guess I’m jumping the gun by writing about it right now.  Wonder what it must be like to have memory problems and to be trying patch up such a difficult upbringing at the same time.

 



In Memorium – Zahra Baker
November 16, 2010, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Astrology stuff, Living with Grandparents, Murder, Uncategorized, Violence

Zahra Baker would be celebrating her 11th Birthday today — if she were alive.  But she’s not alive.  Her remains have been found scattered around the North Carolina area where she had lived for about the last 2 years with her Father and Step-Mother.  Her Step-Mother is in jail and her Father is out on bail.  No one has been accused of the murders yet.  I don’t know how to read this strange part of the Judicial System, that’s for sure.

Zahra was a truly sweet little girl who led a really difficult life.  Her bio Mother is said to have had post-partum depression after Zahra was born Nov. 16, 1999 Giru, Australia (hope that info’s correct).  From what I can gather, the Mom left her family when Zahra was about 8 months’ old.  She perhaps also had a drug addiction.  Zahra lived with her Grandparents and her Father in Australia.  She was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2005 and with lung cancer two years later.  She had lost part of her leg to the cancer and most of her hearing from the cancer treatments.  Venus has been Retrograde in the signs of Scorpio and Libra since the time that Zahra was reported missing.  It was also in conjunction with Mars probably when she died.  This is an aspect often related to great intensity in relationships.  Scorpio is related to jealousy and revenge and murder and Venus is related to envy and marriage.

And then Zahra’s Father met her step-mother on-line and moved his daughter to the United States to be with this woman 2 years ago. I’ve read some accounts that the couple had drug addictions as well as the bio mom.  The step-mother, is no doubt, one of those lovelies that I saw on the internet forums when I first started writing this blog.

I don’t want this post to be about how terrible Zahra’s life was or what idiots her parents are.  I want it to be a celebration of her life.  She had a beautiful beautiful smile and her spirit positively glows from the photos which are posted of her. I read a story about how she and a friend had walked around picking up trash and had discussed wanting to be environmentalists.

But her life was tragic.  And she was only 10 years old.  I suppose it might be thought that it is rare for a child who is growing up in the type of hell that Zahra was living in to still manage to have such a lovely personality.  But, we really don’t know.  Kids hide these things well.

The media is all over this story, but still manages to avoid discussing the issue of what Children of Divorce suffer.  There is no discussion of how single parents become much more abusive if they fall off the beam through addiction and bad love life choices.  There are no warnings about how a parent must protect his/her child from abuse from the stranger who they force their child to live in the same home with.

I’m going to add this link to an article about Zahra.  There is some good discussion from people who grew up in divorce and had to deal with parents and step-parents who were less than ideal.  One person warns that an official never talks to the child in front of the torturer because the child can’t open up.  Another person adds her story about how her step-mother continues to bad mouth her over the internet.

I haven’t been watching shows like Nancy Grace which follow every inch of the legal proceedings.  Usually they bring in psychology experts to discuss a case.  So I don’t know if anyone has been discussing the situation or which topics they chose to discuss.  I’m pretty sure that they avoid discussing issues related to Children of Divorce and would concentrate on finances, mental illness, and addiction.  The step-mother can be accepted as evil.  The Father can be accepted as irresponsible.  But what is the child’s situation?  The Australian newspapers have discussed the actual relationships of the parents. But there will never be a  presentation of studies or statistics of what children go through.  If they can’t find mental health problems in the child then, well, this is just one of those big tragedies that we like to dote on.

One commenter mentioned how the media will be all over the judicial proceedings unless the court blocks access.  The commenter thought that this would be another disaster like the Caylee Anthony case.  I’ve been noticing how often the children of these big profile childrens’ cases tend to be from divorced homes.  Perhaps the parents, being on their own and also so full of guilt, that they can’t control this environment.  Or the parents seem to enjoy the extra attention.  Sometimes they become incredible activists like Polly Klaas’ father.  If the media can’t discuss the underlying issues which went on in the child’s life, then I certainly think they should ban the crappy reporting from the courthouse.  I know that the police are extremely aware of what actually goes on. Why doesn’t anyone mention all the low profile cases like this?  I’ve mentioned before that I had read a book written by a Detective who said that he will tend to assume immediately that when a child dies who lived in a step-family situation that almost always the step-father will be guilty of the murder.  This is of course a drag for the step-father’s who are innocent.  We generally hear about those cases immediately.  But we never hear about all the cases where the step-father really did commit the murder.  Where are the statistics for that one, Nancy?

It’s also important to remember how much more stressful it is for divorced parents to raise a child who becomes seriously ill.  Single parents usually are very self involved rying to keep their own heads above water.  How can they manage to take care of a child who gets Cancer?  Zahra had a solid family with her Grandparents, it sounds like, back home in Australia.  But she was thrown into a nut house with her Father’s internet marriage.

I’ve said here before that I don’t think that Divorce is necessarily bad.  I just think that the institution of marriage should be taken very seriously when kids are involved.  It was created in order to make the best possible situation for people to raise their kids to be as strong as possible. People need to take a serious look at what actually goes on behind all those closed doors.

Astrology wise, I’ll note that today is Zahra’s 11th Birthday.  That’s her Solar Return.  She has a natal Scorpio Sun in a one degree conjunction with Mercury Rx.  I once had a teacher who said that the thing about Scorpios is that they never have boring lives.  This sign is symbolized by a phoenix who flares up into flames in a ritual cleansing and purification process and then rebuilds himself out of the ashes.  This is a very determined sign because of that. Scorpio is often joked about as ruling Sex, Death and Taxes.

Because Zahra’s natal Sun at 24 Scorpio was widely conjunct natal Pluto and Chiron at 6 and 10 Sagittarius, her early Birthdays would always connected with the energies of these two planets (Chiron’s not a planet, asteroid).  Pluto rules Scorpio so this brings out the nature of that sign.  One can assume often that a child with this set up will suffer a lot of crises early in life.  Pluto is connected with health issues that run very deep within the body, like Cancer.  Chiron rules issues with Health which involve difficult healing.  Chiron was a Healer/Teacher who could heal everyone but himself.

Zahra’s natal Sun was squared by the long standing conjunction of Chiron-Neptune in Aquarius this year.  That’s very stressful   It also lines up with her step-mother’s chart.

The step-mother is going through a Neptune square transit this year.  This is a mid-life crisis aspect and is also often involved with out of control drug and alcohol use and getting stuck in situations of self undoing through unrealistic, rosy thinking.

At age 11 Zahra was past her Nodal Return at 8 Leo.  And she would have had a Jupiter Return at 27 Aries next year.

Her first Mercury Return would have been around November 29, 2000 and would have been opposing Saturn 27 Taurus Rx.

First Venus Return would have been around Sept. 6, 2000 and would have been involved in a Grand Trine with Saturn 1 Gemini trine Neptune 5 Aquarius Rx.  Venus stands out in her chart as this planet was Lead planet of a Locomotive chart pattern.  Venus is also in her own sign of Libra.  Of her early Returns, her Venus Return came first before Mercury and Sun.  And Venus was passing over Zahra’s North Node when she was 8 months old when her Mother left.  If the information I’ve got is correct that would have been when Zahra’s mother left.  I can see how women would play a big part in her life but doubt I would have suspected that it would turn out quite like this.

First Mars Return would have been around Oct. 18, 2001 at 23 Capricorn.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Barry Manilow

Blockbuster singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is a Child of D.  Manilow’s parents divorced just after he turned 2 years old and he grew up with his Mother and Grandparents in Brooklyn, New York.   Manilow changed his last name to his Mother’s maiden name when he was around 13 years old.  I’m not sure how much of a relationship he had with his Father.

Both parents remarried.  Manilow’s Mother remarried at some point in the late 1950’s.  Manilow would have been in his mid to late teens. Manilow credits his Step-Father with having introduced him to Jazz.

I’m unclear about sibling relationships.  According to a website, Manilow was raised basically as an only child, but had two step-brothers from his Mother’s remarriage.  He possibly has a step-brother and a half-brother through his Father’s remarriage.  I’m not real sure about this information, though.

Below is an except of an interview on the TV show Larry King Live from 2002 in which Manilow desribes his childhood.  (Full transcript of the show is here. //transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/17/1k1.00html. Sorry, I messed up the link thingee).  Manilow had just put out an album called Here at the Mayflower which apparently was based on the apartment building where he and his family (Mother’s side) lived.  It featured two hits  “Turn the Radio Up” and “They Dance.”  Manilow’s music is all about being positive and making people feel good.  “Turn the Radio Up” is about using music to combat misery and worry.

According to Wikipedia, Manilow is Jewish on his Mother’s side and Jewish-Irish on his Father’s side.  His Step-Father is Irish.

KING: Was your childhood tough?

MANILOW: No. I don’t say it was tough. No.

KING: Your parents were divorced?

MANILOW: Parents were divorced. I was raised by my mother and my grandparents and a lot of relatives around this Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mayflower…

KING: Jewish neighborhood?

MANILOW: Jewish neighborhood, Jewish, Puerto Rican. It was very ethnic. I loved it.

KING: But your stepfather though was Irish, right?

MANILOW: Yes. I just saw him. He lives down in…

KING: You close?

MANILOW: Well, we’re not close. He lives in Florida and I don’t. But he was the guy that turned my musical motor on.

KING: Really?

MANILOW: Well, before Willie Murphy (ph) came into my life, I was playing the accordion, and “Have Nagila” and all of the folk songs that my grandparents loved.

KING: Worked at bar mitzvahs?

MANILOW: Well, I should have been so lucky. I wasn’t even up to bar mitzvahs. I was just playing folk songs on the accordion.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MANILOW: You got it. And I wasn’t bad, believe it or not. But that would have been it, had Willie not come into my life.

KING: What did he do?

MANILOW: He came into my life with a stack of albums that turned my musical motor on. He brought a stereo system in that I never had and a stack of albums that had people like Stan Kenton and June Christy and Broadway show music like “The Most Happy Fella” and “Kismet” and “Kiss me, Kate” and on and on. It was a stack of gold.



Barack Obama’s Mother

Here’s a link to a really nice portrait of Barack Obama’s Mother called “Free-spirited wanderer set Obama’s Path” by Janny Scott.  I think the original article is from The New York Times but this link goes to MSNBC:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23623222/



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement.” When she refused to get off of her seat for a white person she freed the Country. Rosa Parks was a Child of Divorce.

From what I can tell, Parks’ parents separated sometime before she was 7 years old. Parks moved with her Mother and younger brother, Sylvester, to her grandparents’ farm in Alabama where she spent the remainder of her childhood. According to the census records that are listed on the Internet her Mother remarried.

Parks married a barber named Raymond Parks in 1932 and in 1943 became active in the current Civil Rights Movement. She became its “Mother” on Dec. 1, 1955 in Montgomery Alabama. That’s absolutely the only time I can say that I wish had taken the public transit.

Parks passed away in 2005, still very humble and very much admired. She wrote her autobiography which I hope to read soon.