Spoiled Children of Divorce


U.S. Census Data on Child Support

The U.S. Census does extensive work to track what kinds of financial support children receive from separated parents. It looks like the latest tabulated results are from 2015. Can’t say I can interpret them very easily but appreciate reading all the different categories. I think that non-custodial parents spend as much on gifts as they do on food. And, either way, that might not be much.

I remember the check coming sometime in the middle of the month. I remember being called Child #2 and my older brother was called Child #1. I remember the bartering over who will get the tax deductions this year. I remember being left alone in the house with boxes of cereal and gallons of ice cream to eat. I remember eating from my Mother’s doggie bags from her dates. I remember my Step-Mother bragging about how decadent the restaurant was that she and my Father had recently eaten at. I remember my Step-Sister ordering the Lobster to screw my Father out of his money.

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2015/demo/families/p60-262-tables.html



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Gavin Newsom

For the first time ever, California the Divorce State extraordinaire, has put its money where its mouth is and elected leaders who are Children of Divorce. This is all within the last year. The Divorce State, which chooses not to share its divorce statistics with the CDC, has chronically avoided electing its progenies. What happens to all of those children of all those messed up people who are going through divorce and why don’t we ever hear​ about them?

Now suddenly we have Senator Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom. I posted about Harris before so will quickly look at Newsom’s biography. Newsom was born in San Francisco in 1967. That’s the Summer of Love. Don’t know if his parents were hippies. His Father was a lawyer and Justice so probably not. Newsom’s parents separated when he was 2 years old and divorced in 1972 when he would have been around 5 years old. He moved to Marin County with his Mother and Sister. I would have thought that he grew up wealthy but apparently just the opposite. His Mother had to work at 3 jobs to support their family. In spite of that,​ she took in Foster Children. Newsom’s Father apparently gave away all his money. He was a part-time lawyer in Truckee, CA who also worked at working-class​ jobs. Newsom would see his Father every few months when his Father would take him to political events​. Some good old divorced Daddy parenting here? Newsom struggled​ with dyslexia. It sounds like he bounced around in schools quite a bit. Okay, so it looks like Newsom’s ACE score might be a little high and he ended up as Mayor of San Francisco and is now Governor of California.

In High School Newsom worked at many janitorial jobs. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a major in Political Science. He attended on a partial baseball scholarship. He started a winery business which was funded by Gordon Getty. His Father was a lawyer for Getty. So Newsom has had good social connections. I’m sorry to sound catty about that but it’s important to analyze the situation. I mean, he’s a cool Dude, but California’s got lots of cool dudes. Newsom discusses his childhood here in a very interesting interview where he talks about things you do to connect with a divorced parent. https://www.kqed.org/news/11696701/gavin-newsom-on-his-childhood-personal-growth-and-teenage-wine-cellar.
Newsom has been married twice. He currently has four children with his wife Jennifer Siebel. His Mother passed away early on. She never knew his kids. His Father is still alive and struggles with dementia.

Best part is Newsom is putting extra efforts into supporting Children with Traumatic childhood pasts according to this article.



Heartbreaking Mother/Daughter Talk

Okay, so this is real. You’ll never hear one of the get help people talk about it. But, it’s real. I’ve overheard similar things. I’ve lived similar things.

https://blend.oola.com/restaurants/2386541/waiters-share-the-most-messed-up-thing-theyve-overheard-while-serving?utm_campaign=ola-quo-d-us-bdf8ae4a&utm_content=2026&utm_source=quo&utm_term=ola-quo-d-us-bdf8ae4a.tl51xahv.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Elon Musk

The numbers of Children of Divorce who are included on Time Magazine’s 100 People of the Year Lists has gone up. I forgot the exact count, maybe 11 to 13. Plus about 5 more people who grew up in a single parent family where the parents never married. I couldn’t find out information on about 20 of the people on the list so I’m not taking these numbers too seriously. What I’m really happy about is the quality of the Children of Divorce on this list because many included are probably not really very impressive leaders in my opinion.

Elon Musk is one of the super impressive ones. Musk is a visionary who takes big risks like creating car company Tesla and turning space travel into a tourist industry. He must have watched a lot of “The Jetsons” when he was a kid. Actually I think he was busy doing other stuff. According to Wikipedia Musk read a lot. Became interested in computing at at 10. That’s just a year after his parents’ divorce so maybe have a lot of time to himself contributed to this. Must taught himself programming at Age 12.

According to this article from BusinessInsider, Musk describes his childhood as “excruciating.” He grew up in South Africa. His Mother was a Model from Canada and his Father was an Electromechanical engineer. His parents divorced in 1980 so Musk would have been around 9 at that time. After two years he lived exclusively with his Father. He says that this was a mistake and that his Father was emotionally abusive. They are currently estranged. According to People Magazine Musk’s Father had a child with his step-daughter who is, of course, his step-daughter, but is also 40 years younger. His Father calls Elon a spoiled child…..ah, hahahahahahahahahaha. How appropriate for a Child of Divorce. What a lovely man, and how many of these idiots are out there?

Musk’s Mother is the covergirl of a company. She talks about how she created the entrepreneurial spirit in her children in this Businessinsider article.

Musk is the oldest of 3 children in his first family, a brother and sister. He also has a half-brother and half-sister.

Musk was also deeply affected by bullying at school. During one episode he had to be hospitalized. He was knocked unconscious when some boys threw him down a concrete stairwell.

The Month that Musk turned 18 he got out of dodge and moved to Canada where he was able to get a passport because his Mother was Canadian. He finished two Bachelors degrees in Physics and Economics and then moved to California to get a Ph.d at Stanford. But dropped out after 2 days in order to start businesses. He partnered with his brother for his first business (funded at least in part by hs Mother) and has since started a series of successful companies such as PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, the space rocket company.

According to Wikipedia Musk has been married and divorced three times, but the last two were to the same woman. He had 6 children with his first wife, but the first baby died of SIDs after 10 weeks.

According to this article in SiliconBeat someone got onto Musk’s Twitter account and asked him if he is Bipolar so he may have some issues. Musk answered “yeah” but qualifies that as not clinical.



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 – 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.