I have read a lot of history books over the years, and so I know that kids have faced challenges throughout our history. These challenges have changed over time.
100 or so years ago it was mostly about survival, because so many kids either died in childbirth or died by the age of 10 from diseases. I read in one history book that at the time of the american revolution, the average length of a marriage was 7 years; not so much from divorce but from deaths. So even back in that day, kids were involved in blended families and dealing with a lot of losses.
Today’s kids face their own brand of challenges. Divorce would be high on my list, and especially the myriad of ramifications from the divorce process. Let me share with you some examples from my counseling practice.
More and more kids are experiencing parents who never got married in the 1st place, which for some kids becomes confusing especially after the parents split up. Many of these dads stop seeing the kids, and it’s a big loss. Many kids have to put up with parents who can never seem to stop fighting, even years after the divorce. Kids feel pulled, in the middle, confused, and scared. And many of them suffer alone with these feelings.
It’s also confusing when parents start dating people, often during the separation time before the divorce is final. I’ve seen lots of kids who have a parent get pregnant while not married, or even before the divorce. Parents talk about no premarital sex and being responsible, and yet their behaviors don’t appear very responsible in their children’s eyes. Especially when a parent spends more time with their new family and neglects their original one.
Kids have no say in all of this, which gives them a feeling of having no control or say-so. They don’t feel heard or very important, and that is probably the most damaging effect of their parent’s mischief.
And then we wonder why kids act out.