Spoiled Children of Divorce

Parental Decision Making in Step-Family Situations

Story out of Minnesota about a Mother and her boyfriend who shaved the head of the Mother’s daughter and forced her to wear diapers and run around outside their house.  They locked the girl out of the house and when police showed up she was understandably crying and hysterical.  To make matters worse about 50 neighbors were standing around staring at her.

The parents were arrested and were said to be laughing as the police put them in the police car.  They are charged with a misdemeanor crime.






It’s the easiest thing in the world to have a kid. You have something to bully and humiliate.  The reason the Mother and the boyfriend gave for this crime was that the daughter wasn’t doing well in school.  I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t be doing well in school…  A really large percentage of children from Divorced families don’t do well in school.

I suspect that parenting becomes much more sloppy in divorced families and even worse in step-families.  Maybe somebody would do a study someday to come up with a couple of statistics.

Here’s another one out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Dad’s got 3 kids.  Mom’s got one.  They all pile into the car and drive off to the liquor store because the adults are drunk and Dad gets the idea of how this group must somehow form a family.  He straps the kids to the hood of the car to give them a ride.  It was probably kind of fun until the guy at the liquor store called the police and the police called the U.S. Marshall and the U.S. Marshall pulled them over. They made it 3 blocks.  Nobody was hurt.  The Dad’s kids were picked up by their Mother.  The Mom’s daughter was put into protective custody.  This is some sort of Felony in Indiana.  Dad was crying at he was arrested.  Mom admitted the children were in danger.  Dad should dry up and open an amusement park.  It sounds like Indiana needs one.

There are many step situations with Mom and Dad’s Lovers where this doesn’t happen.  The tension is much more subtle.  Or it’s not there at all.  Often money will happily replace it.  I’m just saying, parenting is difficult.

Play and Children of Divorce
November 14, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: creativity, Play

Since I was fourteen when my parents got their divorce I had a “normal” early childhood.  My brother and I had the ideal home life for being able to just run off and play.  And I wonder if there is a huge difference in this for young Children of Divorce.  I can’t imagine being able to take the mental and imaginary leaps that I did when I was a kid.  If a child has changing households and multiple parents someone will always be interfering, either with a scheduling conflict or some sort of judgment about the child that will make him/her too self-conscious.

I’ve found a great book on child development called The Yale Child Study Center to Understanding Your Child by Linda C. Mayes, M.D. and Donald J. Cohen, M.D.  There’s a chapter in the back on Divorce which is included right before the Chapter on Death.  Both Chapters seem more concerned with the parents and their problems.  Out of 548 pages, there are only 16 set aside for this phenonmenon that half of the kids in the United States are growing up in.  That’s always distressing for me.

But, tucked into another Chapter called “Child’s Play:  Child’s Work,” is an interesting insert called “The Child Who Cannot Play.”  It addresses how a stressful divorce lifestyle can affect a young child’s development in this area.  It even lumps it together with the Autism problem.  Although Autism is no doubt a real problem, I tend to suspect that it’s a real problem of mis-diagnosis in the Medical profession.

The book states that the ages of 3-7 are the major years for developing through play.  Man, kids from intact families don’t know how good they have it just to be allowed to go through this phase uninterrupted.  Parents in these families just love letting their kids go off and do their own thing.

From pp 222-223:

“Because their external lives are so rushed and stressed, their time to daydream, imagine and reflect upon their mental world is foreshortened.  In this tragic situation, children who are caught in the middle of a divorce, or whose parents are fighting constantly or are depressed, or who are growing up in unsafe neighborhoods with littlesense of security, often cannot play.”

Did you see that?  It mentioned “Divorce.”  Divorce as a problem as seen from a child’s point of view, not a parent’s.  It just tucked it in there all hidden like.  How rare is that?

Going on it then says to send the child for counseling if this becomes a problem.  Shouldn’t the parents just do the counseling?  Counselors are often invasive presences like step-parents.  They seldom have enough talent to do their jobs effectively so why bother with them?

I think often that the parent thinks of his children as pals in which he plays in his new single life with.  Many of the movies that have come out recently use this “hip, friendly parent” to tell their stories.  Hip parents are great.  Often they have huge egos and don’t know when they are drowning out their children’s spirits, though. But, that’s another story.  Maybe playing sidekick to Mom and Dad’s single life is a good substitute for play.  I personally think it’s neurotic.  Mostly I think it’s responsible for a whole generation of people who can create no new Arts.  I’ve never been a fan of Reality TV myself because it definitely seems to be a mediocre product of half-baked minds.  Just when we need inventors and risk takers who can make great intuitive leaps to solve the problems of the environment our society is loaded up with young people who have been used to shrink their parents’ problems non-stop.  These skuttled around kids probably have hyper advanced social skills that replace the imagination thing and that’s probably better for survival during a deluge because people will be less likely to fight over who gets kicked off the raft.