DIVORCE: PUT THE CHILDREN FIRST?
What a sad and sometimes scary word, divorce. Nobody likes to say it and certainly no one wants to hear it. Little can be said about divorce that will make it a positive word, experience or event. The action may be necessary and the result may be positive, but the sheer thought of a divorce sends chills up most kid’s spines. Still, we will get divorced, as a collective society, we will get divorced.
The most recent statistics reveal that of first marriages; from 41% to 50% of them will go through divorce. Of second marriages, from 60% to 67% will end in divorce. Worse yet is the record for third marriages. You would think we would have it right by then but still, from 73% to 74% of all third marriages will end up in divorce court.
Somewhere along the line, about half of all children in the USA will be faced with their parents getting a divorce. I can remember as a kid how threatening the sound of that word was. It could make me sick to my stomach just to hear it; and I was already experiencing a hideous childhood. Yet, I did not want my white Mom to divorce the black man she had so hastily married. I was more willing to put up with the horror of the childhood I was experiencing than I was to go through the unknown horror of a divorce; it was that ominous of a thought.
My Mom had divorced my real Dad when I was only four years old. I was so young that I can barely recollect a few scenes of the misery that followed. By the time she had married the black imposter we spent the next eight to nine years with, I was of an age that I could understand what was going on; I could comprehend her actions. The simple sound of that one little word, divorce, would shock me and it kept me content to endure the grisly childhood I had been gifted with, rather than experience a divorce.
Many of us, I say “us” since I have been divorced, twice, and am a self-proclaimed member of the club, like to say, “put the children first.” First of all let me tell you something. This is coming from a kid who is the product of a broken home. All you need do is to think of a divorce, or simply mention the word, or ask your kid what they would think about moving away, and you have suddenly put the children “LAST!” There is no “put the children first” when it comes to divorce. The only way you can put them first is to not even entertain the thought of divorce. Sorry, that is a cold, hard fact.
Mom may be a harlot or Dad may be a womanizer, he may stay out and drink all night or she may run around on him. It doesn’t matter. Give your kids some credit; they know exactly what is going on. They may not know all the details but they definitely have an idea of which one of you is at fault. They don’t like it either. They know who is at fault and they want him or her to stop but they do not want either one of you to leave the other one. In their simple eyes, divorce is not an answer to anything.
The only time you can possibly get one of your children to look at divorce in a positive light is when one of the parents is getting such a short end of the stick that kids at school are teasing your kids. Only when it looks like there could possibly be death or physical damage to one or the other will the children even consider divorce. And even then, they might not allow divorce, probably only a separation for a period of time.
You cannot put children first when it comes to divorce. Not that you shouldn’t, or not that it isn’t the right thing to do, it’s just that a child’s opinion of divorce does not allow them to ever be first! The best you can do is to look at your children’s future and decide where they would be better taken care of at this time. If you decide that to stay with the other parent is the best thing for your children, don’t pat yourself on the back. This is not putting the kids first; they are still second or third down the line. Just your simple consideration of a divorce, whether you follow through with it or not, has already put you first, and the children somewhere down near last!
The instant you decide on divorce, because you cannot take it any longer, you have ignored your children’s rights, privileges, peace of mind and well-being. You have put yourself first and your children somewhere down the line. Don’t get all defensive, that is not a bad thing. If you do not put yourself first, if you do not protect your own ability to function, how can you ever care for your children’s needs? Just don’t try to justify your actions by convincing yourself that you are putting the children first, you are not!
Chin up, step up to your problem and accept responsibility. If a divorce is necessary then it is a good thing that you have initiated it. Your kids will be fine; they will survive. They won’t like it, but if you do what you have to, you may live yet another day to argue with them about it.