Many are fans of the popular television show Jon and Kate Plus 8. It has been a show about how two parents survive having twins and sextuplets. After watching four terrific seasons of a family unit, the fifth season began last night with the separation of Jon and Kate. While not yet divorce, they are currently separated and the episode centered upon their difficulties and failings in the marriage.
The reason I am bothering to write about this is because I am child of divorced parents. My parents divorced while I was in elementary school, the same general age frame of the older twins of the television show, give or take a year. I was very disturbed to hear the words Jon and Kate said about their marriage problems and its impact on the children. So I am going to address (perhaps each week after each episode) the false garbage and deception that is often spewed by parents who are considering divorce. So I am going to say things that divorced parents, separated parents, and parents considering divorce do not want to hear. They don’t want to be told the bad news about what the decision of divorce will do to their children. I expect plenty of hate mail and strong disagreements from this series of posts. But I am going to try to speak from the perspective of a child who went through his parents’ divorce.
“We will come together for our kids.” This was stated in the context that both Jon and Kate were at their children’s birthday party. But this is utterly meaningless. Children want their parents together permanently and being together for a couple hours is no consolation with the knowledge that daddy is not coming home. Even one of the children said that in the show. It is amazing to me how often psychologists and others feed the garbage that it is better for parents to be apart and civil than together and fighting. This is not true. Children often do not see the problems in the marriage and wise adults can often keep many of those problems out of the children’s sight. Even married couples have arguments but are able to conceal those disputes from their children on most occasions. To truly “come together for the kids” would mean that Jon and Kate would decide to endure the marriage until the children left the home. Put up a facade and do your best together because the children need both parents together. Sleep in different bedrooms if you have to. Yes, maybe it would be fake, but so is being together for two hours at a birthday party. But the children need the security that comes from a marriage that stays together for the children, even with all of its problems.
“As long as our kids are safe and happy, that is really all that matters.” This statement suggests that they can be emotionally safe and happy with divorced parents. But divorce is damaging to children. Unfortunately, parents are too selfish to realize the immense pain and damage that divorce inflicts on children.
Children cope with divorce. It is not in their best interests and they do not thrive under such a situation. I will be interested to see what other justifications are given to soothe their guilty consciences.