Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce – Carol Knuth

Just watched this video of ex-Foster Child, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Victim Carol Knuth describing her childhood. I’m feeling a little queasy. I had no idea that a huge portion of trafficking victims grow up in Foster Homes but I guess it makes sense. Like everyone else I thought this is something that immigrants go through.

People like Carol are coming out to try to educate the rest of us about the Foster Care System along with Trafficking and Sexual Assault. Her survival is totaling amazing. She has since married, had children, has received two degrees, and has held powerful jobs.

The complaint about growing up as a “Child of Divorce” seems to be overpowered by the rest of the story but I feel that it might be the seed. Knuth’s parents divorced when she was two. She was the youngest of three girls who her Father sexually assaulted. He had told his daughters that their Mother had died. He remarried and divorced her Step-Mother when Carol was around 6th grade. Sorry I didn’t write very good notes so can’t provide the exact age. Carol and her sisters went to their first Foster home when she was three. When she was in her early teens she had to testify that her Father molested her. His daughters were taken away from him but he was never charged with any crime. Carol bounced in and out of around 21 homes. At one point her Foster Mother was dating her Father. The lack of concern for her feelings is such a major theme in her childhood. She tells the story so stoically. There seems to have been no end to the amount that people would not stand up for Carol until she was a working adult. Knuth tells how a co-worker assaulted her while they were in the break room. She just figured “same old, same old” and went back to her seat. But, this time another male co-worker had seen the assault and reported it. The offender was fired. This seems to be the first time in her life that anyone stood up for her.

Wow. That’s all I can say right now. She looks so straight. I would never have known from looking at her that she could be a survivor of this type of history.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Mishna Wolff

Mishna Wolff is a writer of a humorous memoir called I’m Down about growing up white in an all black neighborhood. Chapter One describes her parents’ divorce when she was seven. Wolff was surprised to learn that she would continue to live with her Father while seeing her Mother on the week-ends. At the time she is not surprised by her parents’ decision to divorce because she has always felt they were “mismatched.” She is surprised to find that she won’t attend the custody hearing so that everyone would want to hear her preferences. Surprise, Surprise.

Mishna was the oldest of two daughters. Her Father paid her an allowance to look after her little sister. She takes on this responsibility with a light hearted attitude.

Sorry, that’s the only chapter I’ve read so far. Just get so excited when I see anyone giving any opinions at all about their divorce experience couldn’t wait.



Exemplary Children of Divorce / Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia murder keeps showing up in my internet play. When looking up James Elroy’s biography I didn’t read about the victim of this murder, Elizabeth Short. It turns out that Short was not really a Child of Divorce, but her parents were separated in a weird sort of way.

After going bankrupt in 1930 because of the Depression, Short’s Father faked his suicide so the family could receive insurance. Short was 6 years old. He moved from Massachusetts to California and rebuilt his life.

Short’s Mother moved her 5 daughters and took a job as a bookkeeper. Short moved to California to be with her Father when she was 19 but he threw her out of the house. Short partied and slept around and moved around a lot. She dated some servicemen during World War II but one, who she was set to marry, was killed.

Her murder is said to be a mystery to this day. She died when she was 22. This was very close to her 2d Jupiter Return which is interesting because she would have been under the influence of her first Jupiter opposition when her Father disappeared. This would explain her charm and her risk taking life style.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler is a 20th Century detective novel writer written in a “hard-boiled style.” Some of the titles were The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, and The Long Good-Bye. One might expect that a writer would discuss his childhood a bit but in the book Raymond Chandler Speaking (Gardner and Walker, p.20) he gives two liners to each parent.

His father: “My father was a graduate of Penn, a civil engineer. Divorced when I was seven…Never saw my father again.”

His Mother: “My Mother soon after returned to England to live with her mother and manage the house, and of course I went with her.”

Chandler grew up in Chicago until he was 7 years old. His Father worked for the railroads and was drunk most of the time. Chandler wrote that he was “found drunk if he was found at all.” (Hiney, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 4).

Chandler’s Mother was born in Ireland and they moved to Ireland to live with family after his Father disappeared for the last time. They had lost their house and were living in a hotel where the boy caught Scarlett Fever. Chandler’s Mother never talked about his Father again.

Chandler said that he had wished his Mother had remarried in London. “I know that my mother had affairs — she wa a very beautiful woman– and the only thing that I felt to be wrong was that she refused to marry again for fear a step-father would not treat me kindly, since my father was such a swine.” (Honey, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 10)

Chandler had generous relatives and grew up in Britain. He and his Mother returned to the United States. He worked at several professions, getting fired for drinking himself. He didn’t write his first story until 1933 at Age 45. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published when he was 51.

Chandler fell in love with the step-mother of a friend who was 18 years his senior. His Mother forbade the relationship so Chandler didn’t marry Cissy until after her death. When his wife died in 1954 Chandler attempted suicide.

Chandler died in 1959 of pneumonia which was brought on by alcoholism.



Mr. Rogers Versus Mandated Reporters

Mr. Rogers had a way of talking with little kids that comforted the parents. In Divorce this is essential for the health of the child. Parents of Divorce Children are very busy and preoccupied. They are doing the best they can, but it is essential that they talk with their children about the divorce and about their own behaviors while trying to encourage the child to speak about his/her feelings and observations.

While working around some children I couldn’t help but notice that they will start talking about their parents and the divorce almost immediately if given a chance. It sounded like a cry for help to me. But, I didn’t feel I had the right to get involved. Children want an adult to discuss this stuff with. In one case I happened to tell someone who was a mandated reporter about one of the children. I wasn’t aware of the mandated reporter thing. Without any discussion, the child was removed from the problem parents’ custody within a day or two. I don’t know whether this was already in the works and that I had nothing to do with any of it, but the child stopped talking to me. The child was also crying a lot and the custodial parent became fairly grumpy. It’s surprising to me that most children of divorce will openly discuss what is going on at home and, although they speak about it in simple terms, they sound very stressed out. I guess most adults will hear a child say “My Mother is sick. I don’t see my Father very much. My parents are getting a divorce” and still not understand that an adult going through 3 such stressors would be drinking, yelling, calling in sick to work, going to the shrink, medicating, and who knows what else. For some reason, when a child says this most people ignore it. Maybe they tell the child to hang tight while their parents get their act together. This, of course, can take five years.

That is why I recommend that parents watch Mr. Rogers’ episodes on dealing with divorce. His understanding is kind of stupid. He makes a big point out of assuring the child that he/she is not to blame for the parents’ split. That applies to only a percentage of children, not all. In some cases a parent leaves because he/she can’t handle children, or they can’t handle having children with the ex so they vanish from the life. And the child knows it. And internalizes it because it is taboo to talk about and nobody can do anything to help. It’s amazing how the Blame Thing is the only element that gets through to adults. Obviously it’s a projection which arises from the Divorce because Blame is a huge fighting factor in the courts. It spills over on to the kids either directly or indirectly through observation.

At any rate, it’s best for a parent to talk with one’s children directly unless one wants one’s children discussing their problems with Social Workers. If the parent tell their kids that they are not to blame one can expect that a step-parent will come along who will.

In the end, let’s face it. Things go on behind divorced walls that aren’t good parenting. When the child goes to school they compare themselves to the other kids who are living much simpler lives. Okay, so that’s another stressor in addition to switching parents/home twice a week, having to talk about friends and school twice, having to monitor parents’ feelings about what happened while with the other parent…

Okay, okay, so there is stuff that Mr. Rogers doesn’t talk about…Kids going through divorce need extra parenting, not less. Instead, they get extra parents, which can often lead to even more stress. Would be great if schools would allow a child to talk with an interested third party without fear of mandated reporting.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Meghan Markel

American Actress, Meghan Markel is engaged to marry Prince Harry of England in May. Both are Children of Divorce. Meghan was six years old when her parents split. Harry was eleven when his parents split and twelve when his Mother died.

Marriage can be a complicated event for Children of Divorce. All events are more complicated because there are so many more people to think about. Meghan’s Father lives in Mexico and will walk her down the aisle. Meghan didn’t invite many members of her Mother’s extended family. Some gave some really insulting interviews right after the announcement. Yahoo article here.



Humanitarian Jerry Lewis Disinherits His Kids From His First Marriage

Hey, as long as psychologists ignore the fallout of coming from a divorced family and lawyers make their money off of the arrangements, this is a situation that will never be addressed. Sigh, people who grew up in Divorce are so used to being rejected and ignored and poor this really doesn’t matter (too much). The lawyers only take on cases where they know they will get paid. Lawyers do pro bono for politically correct situations which will further their career.

Second/third/fourth/90th wives and their children are never, ever gracious enough to set things right. Best to blame those kids for the shit their Father dished out. The will is the parent’s last message to his/her children. This type, so common, do dear, is as bad as it gets.

Comedian/Actor Jerry Lewis died in August at age 91. The news says that he was surrounded by family but doesn’t indicate which family. The news always also make a point out of saying that the one child, a grown daughter, from Lewis’ second marriage will inherit everything, even though she’s “only” adopted. That’s really rude and I’m very sorry she has to read that. The first marriage lasted 36 years and the second marriage lasted 34 years.

So here we go. Kids from divorce are disinherited by their parents. Same old, same old. This time it’s a super successful rich guy who is known for his humanitarian work. That’s an extra twist. Don’t know what Divorce rates are of parents of kids with muscular dystrophy but it might be high. Here’s an article about high divorce rates among parents of children with special needs. Hopefully, being from a “first family” has never disqualified any of Jerry’s kids from receiving some of his charitable contributions.

Lewis died of heart disease which is associated with mental illness like depression which can make an old guy even grumpier so I suppose the kids have a lawsuit in there somewhere, especially since their Father made almost all of his money while he was married to their Mother and not the Step-Mother. You would think.

I’m not making much sense here. This kind of thing makes me so angry. But here it is, over and over and over. And the shrinks stay silent……