Spoiled Children of Divorce

NPR Show on Step-Families

This wasn’t the best Talk of the Nation show that I’ve ever listened to on NPR radio, but, at least they’re trying.

Neal Conan interviews Brenda Ockun of Stepmom magazine and Andrew Cherlin, writer of The Marriage-Go-Round.  The point of the show is to market blended families to the public by saying that the word “Step” creates a negative stigma that needs to be dropped.  Both interviewees represent the Step-Parents’ points of view and were honestly trying to discuss how difficult the situation can be. Ockun seemed sort of nervous to be interviewed but speaks from a pretty honest point of view.  Cherlin said that it typically takes 7 years for a blended family to get used to each other.  If he had said, wow, that’s a huge chunk of your kids’ or your partners’ kids’ childhoods to screw up, isn’t it?  I would have felt that he was being fair.  As it is, I felt that this old school of narcissistic attitudes towards families is still as abusive (in a passive aggressive way, of course) as it always was.  Beating the square peg into the round hole kind of thing.

The callers who phoned in seemed to represent a wide variety of situations.  I don’t remember any bio Mothers calling in, which is telling.

Two phone calls came in from children who had grown up in blended families.  The first was a guy who said that as an adult he avoids his step-family (alcohol).  The second was a woman who tried to honestly describe her situation with her step- or half-siblings who came from an earlier marriage of one or more parents.  Interviewer Conan somehow twisted the situation around to get her to admit that she manipulated her parents into giving her stuff.  It was weird, actually seemed blatantly sexist because he waited to pick on the female, but typical of how NPR has aged out of progressive thinking.  That old Spoiled child thing.  Makes me feel grumpy.  Wish they had said that it’s important for the parents to have at least a year of counseling/education before committing their kids to the misery.

There were no distinctions made about the difference between blended families that come from death of a parent as opposed to blended families that come from divorce.  But, they really didn’t discuss Divorce at all.  Isn’t that weird?  As I said, it was a bad interview.  And I think that people are trying to heal people without trying to looking at what’s ailing them.  Do most parents really think of their children as household pets?

TIME Magazine Article on Changing Attitudes Towards Marriage
November 23, 2010, 7:29 am
Filed under: links to articles, Uncategorized, Websites

TIME Magazine published an interesting article about how attitudes towards marriage have changed in the United States since the 1960s called “Who Needs Marriage?  A Changing Institution” written by Belinda Luscombe (Nov. 18, 2010).  The article is based on some polls which were taken with the Pew Research Center.  I think I may have messed up the linkee thing so it will be down at the bottom of post as well.

Divorce boom peaked in 1978.  Lots more unmarried mothers now who are not necessarily single.  Couples who stayed married tend to be better educated and wealthier.  Most couples agree that marriage is the best situation for the kids, something like 70 to 80 percent.  That surprised me because it seems that everyone I’ve talked to about the research I was working has on attacked me.  I think someone even hacked into the articles cause they’re looking mighty cut and pasted in orders I don’t recollect doing on my own.  The 20-30 percent who think that marriage is best for the children must be the psychologists who are bottom feeding off the misery and the various child molesters who know that kids from single parent homes are easier prey.

Interesting differences in actual attitudes and beliefs as compared with reality and, uh, er, the statistics.  In Sweden, couples with children who cohabitate but don’t marry tend to stay together for longer than married couples with kids in the United States.  One must realize that Sweden is a much smaller country and doesn’t have a varied and transient population same as the United States so there is a much more stable society and culture which can provide stability in the background for a child in an unstable household.  So we can’t just compare ourselves with these other countries.

I don’t know really where the article gets its statistics from.  It was probably written there right in front of me and I didn’t notice.  As I’ve said before, Divorce Statistics for California aren’t tabulated at all (since 1984 I believe) and aren’t included in the national averages with the CDC, etc. Nobody knows what the Divorce rate in California is except for a couple of ambulance chasers in Southern California who estimate 65-70 percent. That throws the national average way off since California is the most populated state and has a very high rate of divorce.  And since so many of the shrinks intentionally do their research on 100 normal families who live out in the boonies of Ohio or wherever the hell these normal people live that research is silly.

From the article:

The Kids May Not Be All Right
Rarely is there a bigger chasm between what Americans believe to be the best thing for society and what actually happens than in the bearing and raising of children. Half or more of the respondents in the Pew poll say that marital status is irrelevant to achieving respect, happiness, career goals, financial security or a fulfilling sex life. When it comes to raising kids, though, it’s a landslide, with more than three-quarters saying it’s best done married.

Yet very few people say children are the most important reason to get hitched. Indeed, 41% of babies were born to unmarried moms in 2008, an eightfold increase from 50 years ago, and 25% of kids lived in a single-parent home, almost triple the number from 1960. Contrary to the stereotype, it turns out that most of the infants born to unmarried mothers are not the product of casual sexual encounters. One of the most extensive databases on such kids, the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a joint project of Princeton and Columbia universities, which has been following 5,000 children from birth to age 9, found that more than half of the unmarried parents were living together at the time their child was born and 30% of them were romantically involved (but living apart).

Most of those unwed mothers said their chances of marrying the baby’s father were 50% or greater, but after five years, only 16% of them had done so and only about 20% of the couples were still cohabiting. This didn’t mean that the children didn’t live with a man, however, since about a quarter of their moms were now living with or married to a new partner. That doesn’t always work out as well as it seems to in Modern Family or Phineas & Ferb. Offspring from earlier relationships put pressure on new ones. For the least wealthy children, Mom’s new boyfriend often means their biological father is less likely to visit and less likely to support their mother. Many stepparents are wonderful and committed, but a series of live-in lovers is not at all the same thing. “About 21% of American children will see at least two live-in partners of their mothers by the time they’re 15,” says Cherlin. “And an additional 8% will see three or more.” 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2031962-4,00.html#ixzz165Wghh49

Thanks for the great article, Ms. Bascombe and TIME Magazine.  Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2031962-4,00.html#ixzz165SjbtMZ


DVD on Divorce and Stepfamilies – Resource List
January 17, 2008, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Resources, Stepfamilies, Websites

Ronald McDonald House Charities has published a DVD of a PBS show about Stepfamilies called Divorce & Stepfamilies:  Breaking Apart & Coming Together.

I found it at the Public Library.  If interested it can always be obtained from the Library through Interlibrary Loan.

Some Resources listed on the Information Sheet:

Covenant House Nineline:  800 999-9999

Boys and Girls Town Hotline:  800-448-3000

Childhelp:  800-422-4453

Stepfamily Association of America:  800-735-0329  // http://www.saafamilies.org

The Children’s Rights Council:  301-559-3120 // http://www.vix.com/crc

It’s My Life:  Dealing With Divorce:  pbskids.org/itsmylife/family/divorce

In the Mix:  Divorce & Stepfamilies Program:  inthemix.org/divorce_index.html

Jen Abbas’ Blog – Generation Ex
December 30, 2007, 7:58 am
Filed under: Books, Uncategorized, Websites

Here’s a link to the Top 40 Divorce Songs as selected by Jen Abbas, author of Generation Ex. I haven’t looked at that book. There’s a link to her website.


Another Link, Mostly StepMothers Bitching About StepDaughters
December 19, 2007, 2:09 am
Filed under: Bad Step-Parent Stories, Uncategorized, Websites | Tags:

Here’s another link to a website where stepmothers talk about their evil stepchildren. If you’ve ever worked in an office full of catty women you know how torturous these bitches can be. They use the word “evil” towards 3 year old kids who are in the middle of really rotten childhoods and never take the time to explain what their part in the problem is. Simply the Children are Evil. These women see themselves as innocent young things, victim of everything that happens, full of love and light, are viewing evil for the first time in their lives and blaming it on small children. Isn’t this just a really weird mythology? Only a couple of the answers showed anyone with any parenting skills at all. None of these stepparents questions any of their own attitudes or behaviors.  They expect the kids to answer to their beck and call.  There was another website of parents discussing living arrangements with each other ad nauseum.  Man, the details, the resentment, the nit-picking.  At least if they’re doing it on the Internet their kids aren’t listening to them talk to each other on the phone like my generation did.

I think I may have already said this. But. If a woman is attracted to a man who is easygoing, the man will also be an easygoing parent, probably sort of negligent also. Kids who have negligent parents become little control freaks because they have to take care of themselves. The parents also marry people who are control freaks. You can’t put the positive end of a magnetic next to another positive end of a magnet, they repel each other. If this is your 2d, 5th, 13th marriage, then take it for granted that something is wrong with you especially with that special kind of “Love” you profess to have. Kids, Dogs, even the Toaster and the Computer will react to that, and not in a good way.

Folks, I’ll use your own words on you:  “Just Get Over It!!!!”


Oprah to the Rescue
December 16, 2007, 5:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized, Websites | Tags:

Here’s a link I just found to an Oprah show called Children of Divorce Share Their Secret Thoughtshttp://www2.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200709/tows_past_20070926.jhtml.

There’s nothing secret about kids go through. It’s silenced by everyone else who can’t or won’t handle it. When I graduated from High School I shook hands and congratulated 2 other girls not for the academic success but for having survived our bitter, mean, alcoholic mothers (all single, of course).

It’s sort of dragging me down to write this blog so don’t know how much longer I’ll keep it going.  Also, I think WordPress has spyware issues.