Friday, January 22, 2010

Family ties undone.




Even through the official census information states that 10% of the population is divorced or separated.  I know that from the daily interactions I have with youth that it actually a very uncommon thing for kids to be living with both of their birth parents.  In fact I have found it to be a mistake to assume that kids live with their parents and instead I ask, "Who lives at your house?" 

Pretty much the only guarantee is that the youth spout off the pets they have by name more frequently than they mention both mom and dad living under the same roof.  At first I couldn't fathom and I would ask lots of questions trying to figure out how to address this "obvious disadvantage".  However I found that most of the answers I recieved were not in the negative but rather addressed the possitive.  For instnace:

"At least this way they don't yell at each other all the time"

"Now I get two Christmases"

"It's better this way"

"I think it would be weird if my Dad was around all the time."

"I've never thought about it, it has just always been this way."

It was this week that I started to realize these are true.  These youth genuinely feel the good things about divorce and so that is what they talk about.  Because hey, they don't want to talk about be crappy situation that lead up to the divorce or how they dream hopelessly about their parents getting back together.  It's not something they have the power to change so why would they dwell on it.  But given the correct context you start to hear how the situation has affect them.  They say love is an illusion.  They see the wedding picture of the younger versions of their parents embracing and smiling, and compare it to the pictures in their heads of fists flying and words lambasting each other in hate.  The situation is confusing as parent start dating and getting remarried.  Who is dad? mom? grandma? grandpa?  Who lives in my house?  Well it depends on the month.  No wonder they are scared of marriage.  There is no future in it.  At least in the way they have seen it work.

So if this were the case for me and someone came up and asked me about my family, wouldn't I answer with the good in the situation as well? After all their family may be broken but that is no reason to assume that they are.  It is a different past than my own, but I can say that mine was better.  There just isn't time for that.  To be continued...


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