Saturday, 27 December 2008

Stay Married For The Children

I got this one via Alas, A Blog.

So, "Children do better with parents together"? Well, duh.
Of course, children from happy and stable homes have a better chance of doing well than those from destructive, emotionally unstable backgrounds.

But that isn't what this billboard is about. Instead, it's about those awful, irresponsible parents who do terminal damage to their children's lives by getting divorced. Shame on them, etc, bla bla.

Except...Years ago (I can't remember when, exactly, but I was maybe seven years old, or younger) I found my mother crying in the bathroom. That alone was shocking enough for me at the time, because my mother never, ever cried. But then she looked at me and asked the Question: "What would you say if I told you that Mum and Dad were going to get a divorce?"

Divorce, as I understood it at the time, meant that my Dad would go away and I was never going to see him again. So, not surprisingly, I started to cry, and my mother didn't bring it up again.

My parents stayed together until I was almost sixteen years old. And you know what?
I spent at least the last five years of that time wishing they were divorced.
I'm pretty sure I would have "done better" without listening to the late-night fights in the kitchen, without the glacial silence and complete lack of closeness between my parents, without cleaning up my father's vomit after he had passed out drunk on the sofa.

But most of all, I would have done better without the crushing guilt of knowing that my mother went through that hell for years because I started to cry in the bathroom that day.

I don't think it's so much about whether a child grows up with parents who are married to each other. Rather, it's about the role models a child is given. It's about teaching by example, how to respect and love yourself and others, that good relationships mean that both sides' needs are met, and a million other things...That's what good parents should try to do for their children.

No comments:

Post a Comment