Spoiled Children of Divorce


Visitation Season
May 27, 2011, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Vacations

I suddenly realized what a stressor Summer Vacation must be for Step-parents. Maybe even more than it is for step-children because step-children at least get to have Summer. Or, at least I think they still do. I know that Summers are different now than they were when I was a kid.

I know Summer is a stressor for normal parents who have to change their schedules, pay for extra child care if they work, etc.  Stay at home parents have to give up their schedules even. I remember my Mother once mentioned how she had observed how happy the Mother’s faces were as they were dropping their kids off for first day of school and of how grumpy the teachers looked.

For a non-custodial step-parent it would be total hell. That parent must face a whole month or whatever space of time, with a strange child or children in the house. That’s annoying and would be a real compromise. I assume that non-custodial step-parents may have been the least aware of what they were walking in to when they married someone with a child. I mean, it really helps to love a kid in order to be involved in the parenting thing. Love is blind and you really have to point a blind eye towards the kinds of crap that kids will drag you in to.

The step-parent, especially if a step-mother, has all kinds of extra work and has to deal with a child who probably doesn’t acknowledge her existence.  The home is usually the woman’s territory.  

From what I read on this and on other blogs, I think that step-mothers don’t really understand how frightening the visit to the strange home is for the child, because the child is either acting very happy to see the other parent or is acting out.  But, that child has just been ripped from his other parent and is in a strange home.  There are loyalty problems. The child has no one to confide in because he or she has witnessed the divorce and knows how fighting goes. Fighting for a child of divorce may end in another break-up. Either way, a Child of Divorce has very little to lose through fighting because he/she is used to loss.

The child has either left a parent who is very sad to let go of him or is relieved to have a month off.  Or both.  And then must face seeing the non-custodial parent who is basically more like an aunt or an uncle and the strange family who he must pretend to be on intimate family terms with.  Plus, it probably is fun.  He probably does get to spend the whole month doing lots of fun activities in order to make up for lost time. 

I won’t go into what it must be like to have to be in a different household because I don’t know.   Since my parents divorced when I was 14 I had real Summers for most of my childhood.  And I spent them with friends. I didn’t have to give a thought to this extra awkwardness and lack of stability. After my parents divorced my friends who I had grown up with pretty much ceased being my friends and I ended up with completely different friends. They stayed in the background in my life and continued on with other kids from intact families.

I probably wouldn’t have minded traveling to another town to visit a parent for a while. It would have been more interesting to be in a new place and I wouldn’t have had to give such a detailed report back to my Mother about places and people she already knew.