Growing Up with Divorced Parents – My Experience

At the age of six, my parents got a divorce. I did not think much about how it had affected me psychologically, I paid more attention to how much my life was changing overall. While reading chapter 8, I thought a lot about how much of an effect my childhood had on my personality and actions to this day. Resilience was the first term to catch my attention. Resilience refers to one’s ability to recover from or adapt to difficult times, meaning, despite encountering adversity, a person shows signs of positive functioning. When me or someone I am close to encounters a problematic situation, my way of comforting is by providing a positive outlook on the situation and encouraging optimism. As much as I try to have a positive outlook, at times, I just cannot seem to think of one. I tend to find myself making friends with people that have home problems just like I do, I did not realize this until middle school when my mom pointed out to me that my friend was a bad influence and I probably should not be hanging around her as often as I did. After learning the meaning of resilience, and understanding how it relates to me in my life, I started understanding why I act the way I do and became friends with the friends I have.

I have grown to understand that I am not the only child with divorced parents, I have made friends with many people that have both parents in their household, and they have more of a struggle then a do because of their parents not getting along. I personally think of it as a learning experience and used it to grow stronger, yet my friends that did not get to have space from their fighting parents did not get a chance to grow from it, instead they became depressed or had anxiety for those reasons. “Moderate difficulties early in life can be strengthening experiences that lay the groundwork for effective future coping” (Ager, 2013; Seery, Holman, & Silver, 2010) Many people cry as their form of coping, not to say that I do not cry here and there, as my form of coping I enjoy trying to make someone else’s day better when mine doesn’t exactly go as planned. If I am having a bad day and there is nothing I can do to change it, there are other ways to brighten my day.

I have always been told that I am such a happy person, two of my friends suffer from depression and have told me that just hanging out with me helps them significantly. I read online about something called “facial feedback”, “Your brain actually pays attention to what your body is doing, and it affects your emotions.”(Alex Korb) When you smile, you are actually changing your own emotions and are often happier from doing so. I am practically addicted to smiling, I do it all the time, when I am embarrassed, upset, angry, and happy. I learned that smiling being my natural instinct in certain situations, actually affects my emotions and puts me in a better mood.

The divorce between my parents effected my relationship with my parents in separate ways. My relationship with my mother got stronger from the divorce because she got custody of my brother, sister, and I. My father stayed living in California and we moved to Indiana, so we had more time to bond with our mother growing up than we did with our father. We would only visit our dad on our breaks, this made our relationship with him harder to keep as strong as it was. Although my father wasn’t around as much, he sure knew how to make the time we had with him special.

I was very young when my parents separated, so I am not sure how my attitude changed toward others. I became a very shy person, but I grew out of this in high school. I am a very loving and caring person, and I always want my friends and family to be happy as well, I will do anything I can to cheer them up at all times. Regarding intimate relations, I think that I was affected by my parent’s divorce. I have always had such high expectations, I could find one thing wrong in a person, and it’s like a switch flips and I am no longer attracted to this person. I believe that I do not want to get hurt again by a guy, so I am unwilling to open myself up or even give very much of my trust. Children tend to be attracted to people that reflect their parents in ways. I think the problem is that I do not want to find someone that resembles my father in the ways that will hurt me in the future, but I do find myself attracted to guys that resemble my father in other ways such as being very outdoorsy and fun. Keeping a relationship going is a struggle for me and I have recently discovered that it is because of how I was affected growing up and I personally enjoy being single and able to do what I want when I want, without having someone controlling a part of my life.

Preoperational stages occur in years 2-7 in a child. In these years, a child is more symbolic, children start to represent their world with images and drawings. At the age of 6 I got very into art, specifically drawing, after my parent’s divorce. I have continued are to this day as a form of stress relief. I learned about preoperational stages of cognitive development in chapter 8 and it immediately caught my attention. I had struggled with moving on to the concrete operational stage at this time, being ages 7-11 years, I had gone to three different schools in those same three years. That being the case, art stuck with me to this day.

Growing up and to this day, my family tells me all about how when I was younger, I would lay on the ground, cover my face, and kick and scream until I got my moms attention. “There can be separation anxieties, crying at bed times, breaking toilet training, bed-wetting, clinging, whining, tantrums, and temporary loss of established self-care skills, all of which can compel parental attention.” (Carl E. Pickhardt) For about six consecutive months, my mom had to lay with me and hold my hand in order for me to go to bed, all of the examples above applied to me as a child, separation anxiety being the main one. Any time I would hang out with my friends, it would always be at my house. It became expected to me, my friends enjoyed coming to my house, so it was never a problem. It was a problem when I was younger, though, I would not be able to sleep at a friend’s house, I would always want to go home at night. Sometimes I would even have my mom make up an excuse for why I had to go home. I hated leaving my mom, my brother and sister, being my older siblings, had no problem with it, because of my brother and sister always going to their friend’s houses, I didn’t want my mom to be home alone, so I would do anything to go back and be with her.

Temperament is an individual’s behavioral style and characteristic ways of responding. My temperament as a child was not bad, I had always wanted to please everyone. Not only did I want everyone to like me, I also wanted to make all of my friends and family happy. I would do anything I could to cheer up my family and friends as a child, and it has continued to this day. Temperament seems to be one of the factors that change in a child of divorced parents, some may be negative, but I continue to think that mine was a positive change. Like any other child, I got in arguments with my brother and sister over little things, our fights would blow over in about an hour or so and we would act like nothing happened. I think that this has had an effect on me where I think every argument that I have is stupid and should be resolved. To this day I have never been in an argument with any of my friends or family and not resolved the situation. Making friends was hard for me growing up because I never knew when I would move again or if I would even be able to keep the friends I had, so what was the point of trying. I eventually changed my mindset once I knew my house was here to stay.

I have enjoyed taking psychology and learning about all the different ways my past has made me into the person I am today. I have learned so much about myself as well as others, and I enjoy sharing the information I learned with my friends and family and telling them why they do the things they do as well. Although people tend to feel bad for a child who says their parents are divorced, now I know that it is the reason I am who I am today, and I would not want to change a thing.