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The Effects of Divorce on Children: How My Parents’ Divorce Turned Me Into Jason Bourne

I Always Thought I’d Make a Good Spy.

Like Jason Bourne, I’d speak fluent English, French, Russian, Dutch, German, Swedish, and Spanish; my other special skills would include hand-to-hand combat; a mix of Filipino Kali and Jeet Kune Do.

I’d have supreme efficiency in handling numerous vehicles, and would possess a Brazilian passport with a Portuguese name: “Gilberta de Piento.”

I felt qualified because my parents divorced when I was three and I orbited two homes as disparate as Jupiter and Mars.

My mom remarried a police officer who had two sons that were three and six years older than me and we lived on a 69-foot sailboat in a white-trash, run-down harbor in Antioch, California, where Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped and kept as a sex slave for 18 years.

effects of divorce on children

My days as a Harbor Rat.

My dad lived in Upland, California in a tract housing development similar to the one Edward Scissorhands landed in. He lived with his second family who were Mormon and bathed once-a-day, compared to the once-a-week ratio at my mom’s.

effects of divorce on children

A refined young lady on her 5th birthday.

In The Harbor

I learned my Bourne-like skills of hand-to-hand combat in order to survive older brothers when necessary and the supremely efficient handling of my Schwinn Stingray in order to flee them when I got in a good punch before they could recover.

I’m missing half my right front tooth thanks to a laughing face-first collision with my mom’s parked 1969 Volkswagen van. I was racing from the scene of kicking my stepbrother Derry in a tender region. The broken tooth… my just desserts, I suppose.

effects of divorce on children.
(I once pinned my same-age cousin Billy to the ground in front of both of our families and wouldn’t let him up until he said, “Shannon’s much stronger than me.” I was a punk.)

In The Suburbs

I wore dresses and attended three hours of Sunday school on the weekend. I tried to keep my penchant for cursing at bay and my hands to myself. I wasn’t always successful as I broke one of my younger sister’s arms accidentally, just by being rough the way I was with my older brothers.

Don’t get me wrong, my younger sister could fight just as well as I could, but knew how to get me in trouble by biting her own arm and saying I did it.

(A tactic she learned from me when she stayed with me at my mom’s house and saw me use the same ploy to get my older brothers in trouble.)

I likened transitioning from my dad’s to my mom’s homes and back again to being an astronaut re-entering earth’s atmosphere.

If the spacecraft should re-enter the earth’s atmosphere even one micro-millimeter off, it will burst into a huge fireball, burning and killing everyone inside!

I had to get my tomboy on as soon as I got to my mom’s and curb my penchant for swearing and giving annoying people the bird when I got to my dad’s.

There were years I haaattteeeddd being a child of divorce, but as an adult now, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had the great good fortune of having four parents and eight grandparents; experiences varying from finding myself at the age of 9 rowing a tiny dinghy with an 11-year-old friend in the windy chop of the San Francisco Bay trying to land on Angel Island before capsizing, to giving inspirational talks about the importance of humility to a sea of Mormons, wearing a dress that covered my shoulders.

If it weren’t for these wildly disparate experiences I doubt I would’ve had such a lust for travel, new adventures and the desire to write about all of them.

We are the sum total of our experiences and because of my parent’s divorce I feel like I received twice my share. So the “effects of divorce on children” were predominantly positive for me.

I love you moms, dads, brothers and sister. xoxo S

effects of divorce on children (Upper left: my mom & dad on their wedding day. Upper right: my mom and stepdad John on their boat during their hippie days. Lower left: my dad and stepmom Gini on their wedding day. (I just call Gini “mom” now, because that’s who she is.) Lower right: all of my parents on my wedding day.)

 



150 comments

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  1. Will G
    Will G 26 September, 2016, 14:45

    My positive outcome was that I wasn’t raised by my dad.

    Reply this comment
  2. mami2jcn
    mami2jcn 26 September, 2016, 15:03

    Ugh, my parents’ divorce affected me in a very negative way. The only bright spot I can think of is that I grew up to really be anti-divorce and I’ve been married for 18 years.

    Reply this comment
  3. mami2jcn
    mami2jcn 26 September, 2016, 15:03

    tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/780528269594619905

    Reply this comment
  4. Elena
    Elena 26 September, 2016, 17:02

    My parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  5. Kelly D
    Kelly D 27 September, 2016, 03:49

    My parents are not divorced, but I have seen positive outcomes when the kids don’t have to be around the fighting any more.

    Reply this comment
  6. Margaret Smith
    Margaret Smith 27 September, 2016, 03:54

    My parents never got divorced. However, I did. The positive outcome of my divorce is that I got out of a bad abusive situation and am now happily remarried for the past 21 some years.

    Reply this comment
  7. Natalie
    Natalie 27 September, 2016, 04:34

    My parent’s divorce was very positive. Towards the end of their marriage they were arguing all the time. Now they are both happily remarried!

    Reply this comment
  8. Ashley C
    Ashley C 27 September, 2016, 04:42

    I have never been divorced, nor have my parents. However, my parents didn’t have a good relationship and that made me a little wary of them.

    Reply this comment
  9. Julie Wood
    Julie Wood 27 September, 2016, 04:58

    My parents were never divorced. They were married for 60 years before my Mom died. They made their marriage work and were in love all those years!

    Reply this comment
  10. Julie Wood
    Julie Wood 27 September, 2016, 04:59

    tweet-https://twitter.com/JewelWood/status/780738562643767296

    Reply this comment
  11. nickie
    nickie 27 September, 2016, 05:53

    My parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  12. Jessica N
    Jessica N 27 September, 2016, 09:32

    The positives outcome of my parents divorce was double the vacations and presents every year! Every year I went to Disney with one parent and the beach with the other.

    Reply this comment
  13. Sylvia
    Sylvia 27 September, 2016, 09:55

    Everything about my parent’s divorce turned out as a positive for me. I didn’t have to live with a drug addict father who always ended up in prison. SO.. Yeah It worked out amazingly for me 🙂 plus the relationship I have with my mom is amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Same for my sister 🙂

    Reply this comment
  14. Debbi Wellenstein
    Debbi Wellenstein 27 September, 2016, 11:21

    My parents did not divorce-they just bickered their entire lives. I don’t think things would have been better if they did.

    Reply this comment
  15. Elizabeth Drake
    Elizabeth Drake 27 September, 2016, 11:59

    My parents divorce allowed my mother to get away from an abusive situation. I was too young to remember it though.

    Reply this comment
  16. SKlocinski
    SKlocinski 27 September, 2016, 12:03

    My mom and dad were never divorced

    Reply this comment
  17. Stephanie V.
    Stephanie V. 27 September, 2016, 12:36

    No more verbal fighting. tvollowitz at aol dot com

    Reply this comment
  18. Alexandra90210
    Alexandra90210 27 September, 2016, 13:01

    I learned that I don’t want to be divorced.

    Reply this comment
  19. Denise S
    Denise S 27 September, 2016, 15:48

    My parents were never divorced.

    Reply this comment
  20. tiac35
    tiac35 27 September, 2016, 16:13

    My parents are not divorced. They have been happily married for the past 39 years.

    Reply this comment
  21. Kiara
    Kiara 27 September, 2016, 21:36

    My parents are not divorced.
    austma7@aol.com

    Reply this comment
  22. Lisa Brown
    Lisa Brown 28 September, 2016, 01:38

    my parents are not divorced
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

    Reply this comment
  23. Lisa Brown
    Lisa Brown 28 September, 2016, 01:39

    tweet-https://twitter.com/LuLu_Brown24/status/781050481548271616
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

    Reply this comment
  24. Steve Weber
    Steve Weber 28 September, 2016, 12:41

    My parents never divorced.

    groogruxking40 @ gmail dot com

    Reply this comment
  25. Jessica To
    Jessica To 28 September, 2016, 13:39

    My parents aren’t divorced…yet.

    Reply this comment
  26. heather
    heather 28 September, 2016, 14:04

    My parents live separately and it is a wonderful thing not all people were meant to be married.

    Reply this comment
  27. Sarah Hall
    Sarah Hall 28 September, 2016, 14:58

    The benefits would be more gifts at birthdays and Christmas.

    Reply this comment
  28. bevhen
    bevhen 28 September, 2016, 17:16

    Never knew my father

    Reply this comment
  29. OFG
    OFG 28 September, 2016, 18:48

    My parents aren’t divorced.

    Reply this comment
  30. Erika
    Erika 28 September, 2016, 19:48

    None that I can think of- still hurts, to be honest. But I think it was necessary for them.

    chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply this comment
  31. Madeline
    Madeline 29 September, 2016, 04:41

    My parents are not divorced and neither are my husband’s. We’re lucky, I guess!

    Reply this comment
  32. Jennifer B
    Jennifer B 29 September, 2016, 10:28

    Funny enough a positive outcome of my parents divorce is that they realized they truly do belong together and got remarried 10 years later

    Reply this comment
  33. paige chandler
    paige chandler 29 September, 2016, 13:23

    My parents are still together. Yay

    Reply this comment
  34. Jessie C.
    Jessie C. 29 September, 2016, 14:43

    My parents are not divorced.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

    Reply this comment
  35. Jessie C.
    Jessie C. 29 September, 2016, 14:44

    tweet-https://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/781610204551114757

    Reply this comment
  36. Rachel
    Rachel 29 September, 2016, 17:42

    My parents are not divorced. They are actually celebrating 35 years of marriage.

    Reply this comment
  37. Christina O
    Christina O 29 September, 2016, 19:05

    I didn’t have to witness the abuse anymore.

    Reply this comment
  38. Allison Swain
    Allison Swain 29 September, 2016, 20:16

    Positive outcome was they were both much happier NOT together fighting all the time . Thanks for the chance to win this!

    allisonrsdswain(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    Reply this comment
  39. Tara O.
    Tara O. 30 September, 2016, 07:19

    The positive outcome of my parents’ divorce was ending up with another brother and sister when my dad re-married!

    Reply this comment
  40. katherine
    katherine 30 September, 2016, 10:14

    My dad died when I was only 2 and being raised by a stepfather I wish there had been a divorce

    Reply this comment
  41. DeniseL
    DeniseL 30 September, 2016, 12:37

    My parents did not get divorced. I count myself pretty lucky.

    Reply this comment
  42. natasha lamoreux
    natasha lamoreux 30 September, 2016, 14:42

    My parents never divorced but a good outcome in general would be no more fighting and the chance to have a friendship instead.

    Reply this comment
  43. shelly peterson
    shelly peterson 30 September, 2016, 16:12

    I was too young to remember my parents divorce but something positive is that my Mother was no longer in an abusive relationship.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

    Reply this comment
  44. shelly peterson
    shelly peterson 30 September, 2016, 16:13

    tweeted
    https://twitter.com/cshell202/status/781995201946460162
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

    Reply this comment
  45. jen gersch
    jen gersch 1 October, 2016, 12:46

    my parents are not divorced but a positive outcome could be self growth

    Reply this comment
  46. Elle
    Elle 3 October, 2016, 07:51

    My parents are still happily married and are not divorced.

    Reply this comment
  47. Amy Tong
    Amy Tong 5 October, 2016, 11:25

    My parents are still happily married. 🙂

    amy [at] uTry [dot] it

    Reply this comment
  48. Amy Tong
    Amy Tong 5 October, 2016, 11:25

    tweeted:

    https://twitter.com/uTry_it/status/783734909663907841

    amy [at] uTry [dot] it

    Reply this comment
  49. Mita
    Mita 5 October, 2016, 20:43

    My parents are still happily married.

    Reply this comment
  50. Kristen
    Kristen 8 October, 2016, 16:12

    My parents’ divorce taught me not to settle for the wrong person. The best thing I got was a new (half) sister!

    Reply this comment
  51. Mari
    Mari 9 October, 2016, 08:03

    Positive outcome from my parent’s divorce? I know who I am today. I also do for myself, sometimes messy and with mistakes, but I do for myself. Un-nurtured, un-protected and un-princessed, I am. Thank you and great question!

    Reply this comment
  52. Cynthia C
    Cynthia C 10 October, 2016, 09:07

    My parents were married for over 64 years until mom passed away. I am so grateful that I never had to experience the pain that many children go through in a divorce.

    Reply this comment
  53. Susan Smith
    Susan Smith 11 October, 2016, 15:29

    My parents divorce was positive in that they were arguing a lot which is upsetting. They waiting until the kids were grown which was good. Years after their divorce they were pretty good friends.

    Reply this comment
  54. Robin
    Robin 12 October, 2016, 07:31

    It was more peaceful without the constant bickering.

    Reply this comment
  55. latanya
    latanya 14 October, 2016, 06:03

    my parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  56. Rebecca Graham
    Rebecca Graham 14 October, 2016, 23:46

    My parents thankfully never divorced.

    Reply this comment
  57. patricia
    patricia 15 October, 2016, 11:54

    My parents are still together, no divorce.

    Reply this comment
  58. ELIZABETH P
    ELIZABETH P 16 October, 2016, 13:42

    My parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  59. Sue Barney
    Sue Barney 16 October, 2016, 20:23

    My parents never got divorced.

    Reply this comment
  60. sandra
    sandra 17 October, 2016, 08:47

    we escaped the abuse of our father

    Reply this comment
  61. Laura B.
    Laura B. 17 October, 2016, 10:50

    My parents aren’t divorced.

    Reply this comment
  62. Anne
    Anne 17 October, 2016, 13:56

    It’s really hard for me to think of a positive outcome of my parents’ divorce. It broke my mother’s heart, and she never recovered. It affected me and my siblings in different ways. I can see the ripples of it in our adult selves, and none of those effects are good ones. I suppose if I had to say something positive about it, it would be that it finally got me to see my father’s true self, although it wasn’t until decades after the divorce that I finally acknowledged it and cut him out of my life.

    Reply this comment
  63. Anne
    Anne 17 October, 2016, 13:58

    Here’s my tweet sharing your interesting and quite positive blog post and the giveaway from HBO’s Divorce:
    https://twitter.com/NotherAnneOther/status/788120219508170757
    Thanks.

    Reply this comment
  64. Susan Chester
    Susan Chester 17 October, 2016, 17:32

    My mom was much happier after the divorce. My dad was free of responsibilities which he couldn’t seem to handle.

    Reply this comment
  65. tina m
    tina m 17 October, 2016, 20:19

    My parents are not divorced, but I think if you dont have love in the family. It’s better to be a single mom/dad.

    Reply this comment
  66. Erica B.
    Erica B. 19 October, 2016, 11:55

    Having parents that were finally happier.

    Reply this comment
  67. Ellie Wright
    Ellie Wright 19 October, 2016, 18:22

    I have not been personally touched by divorce. I’m afraid I have no perspective on it.

    Reply this comment
  68. Barbara Montag
    Barbara Montag 19 October, 2016, 21:04

    My parents are not divorced.
    Positive outcome for mine – I became stronger, learning to trust my judgement more.
    thank you

    Reply this comment
  69. BusyWorkingMama
    BusyWorkingMama 20 October, 2016, 13:01

    My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next year. I am currently going through a divorce and it has made me realize that I need to spend more time on me, my needs and wants and dreams, and focus less on addressing someone else’s needs and wants.

    Reply this comment
  70. angie
    angie 21 October, 2016, 08:13

    The positive outcome of my parents’ divorce was that they were both able to find the people they were truly meant to be with, and that was not each other.

    Reply this comment
  71. susan smoaks
    susan smoaks 21 October, 2016, 12:22

    My parents have been married since 1969. They have had rough patches but they are a strong example for my husband and me about marriage.

    Reply this comment
  72. Daniel M
    Daniel M 21 October, 2016, 13:59

    my parents are still together

    Reply this comment
  73. Stephanie Phelps
    Stephanie Phelps 21 October, 2016, 14:01

    I truly have no idea with parents that have been married over 50 years i cannot think of anything and I have been married 29 years!

    Reply this comment
  74. Linda
    Linda 21 October, 2016, 15:51

    My parents didn’t divorce.

    Reply this comment
  75. Lisa V.
    Lisa V. 21 October, 2016, 15:57

    My parents never divorced; but mine made me a stronger ,more independent person.

    Reply this comment
  76. Kerry
    Kerry 21 October, 2016, 16:00

    My parents have been married for 45 years, so I’m no help!

    Reply this comment
  77. Kathy Pease
    Kathy Pease 22 October, 2016, 06:03

    My Mom was never married she raised my brother and myself as a single mother

    Reply this comment
  78. Ed
    Ed 22 October, 2016, 09:44

    A certain independence can occur.

    Reply this comment
  79. Brenda Elsner
    Brenda Elsner 22 October, 2016, 12:09

    My parents aren’t divorced

    Reply this comment
  80. Tarissa
    Tarissa 22 October, 2016, 12:28

    I’m sooo happy and blessed to say that my parents have never struggled with their marriage. They’ve always been happy together.
    pixelberrypie at yahoo dot com

    Reply this comment
  81. tabitha
    tabitha 22 October, 2016, 12:50

    it made me strong. it also made me know what i didn’t want in a partner.

    Reply this comment
  82. Sarah L
    Sarah L 22 October, 2016, 15:51

    My parents were married until death parted them.
    Thanks for the contest.

    Reply this comment
  83. Bruce
    Bruce 22 October, 2016, 16:20

    My parents weren’t divorced, so no impact.

    Reply this comment
  84. maria cantu
    maria cantu 22 October, 2016, 16:25

    My parents weren’t divorced.

    Reply this comment
  85. Annette
    Annette 22 October, 2016, 16:57

    My parents are still married after over 65 years.

    Reply this comment
  86. sherri crawford
    sherri crawford 22 October, 2016, 18:47

    my parents did not divorce

    Reply this comment
  87. claudia
    claudia 22 October, 2016, 19:21

    My parents have not been divorced.

    Reply this comment
  88. Francine Anchondo
    Francine Anchondo 22 October, 2016, 22:28

    My parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  89. Thomas Murphy
    Thomas Murphy 22 October, 2016, 22:45

    My parents are not divorced

    Reply this comment
  90. Susan P.
    Susan P. 23 October, 2016, 02:43

    My parents never divorced but we all thought they should have!

    Reply this comment
  91. Shayna
    Shayna 23 October, 2016, 02:58

    THE POSITIVE OUTCOME OF MY PARENTS’ DIVORCE WAS THAT THEY BOTH WERE ABLE TO FIND LOVE WITH OTHER PEOPLE AND FIND HAPPINESS 🙂

    Reply this comment
  92. Tracey byram
    Tracey byram 23 October, 2016, 05:17

    My parents were never divorced. My mother died when I was 14.

    Reply this comment
  93. Kathryn C
    Kathryn C 23 October, 2016, 08:12

    #SweepstakesEntry – comment
    my father died when I was 12 and my mom never re-married. I have never been married

    Reply this comment
  94. Kathryn C
    Kathryn C 23 October, 2016, 08:15

    my #SweepstakesEntry tweet:
    https://twitter.com/thrincor/status/790209798360993793

    Reply this comment
  95. Seyma Shabbir
    Seyma Shabbir 23 October, 2016, 09:02

    My parents are not divorced but one positive outcome would be that you don;t see your parents unhappy and arguing.

    Reply this comment
  96. Buddy Garrett
    Buddy Garrett 23 October, 2016, 10:18

    My parents didn’t divorce.

    Reply this comment
  97. Shannon
    Shannon 23 October, 2016, 11:28

    I don’t think it would have been good for me if they stayed together but I do take marriage very seriously as a result of their divorce because it wasn’t easy.

    Reply this comment
  98. Angela Saver
    Angela Saver 23 October, 2016, 11:53

    My parents are not divorced, but my brother & his first wife divorced, & I feel the positive outcome of their divorce on my nephew is that he didn’t have to be around the fighting & conflict any longer.

    Andysavi.Mom@gmail.com

    Reply this comment
  99. Tabathia
    Tabathia 23 October, 2016, 12:40

    My parents aren’t divorced

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    Reply this comment
  100. Tabathia B
    Tabathia B 23 October, 2016, 12:41

    tweet https://twitter.com/ChelleB36/status/790270982019743745

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    Reply this comment
  101. Shakeia Rieux
    Shakeia Rieux 23 October, 2016, 14:18

    My parents are divorced which is a good thing, cause if they didn’t it would’ve been all bad for us.

    Reply this comment
  102. Jerry Marquardt
    Jerry Marquardt 23 October, 2016, 15:37

    My parents never divorced, so I am not able to share any outcomes of a divorce. They always lived a happy marriage.

    Reply this comment
  103. Jerry Marquardt
    Jerry Marquardt 23 October, 2016, 15:39

    I publicly Tweeted this giveaway: https://twitter.com/versatileer/status/790321590575693824

    Reply this comment
  104. Betty C
    Betty C 23 October, 2016, 16:28

    My parents didn’t divorce but they came close a few times.

    Reply this comment
  105. Leah Shumack
    Leah Shumack 23 October, 2016, 20:19

    My parents were not divorced. I didn’t marry my daughter’s father but one good outcome that came about even after we split is that him and his family are still very involved with my daughter and we are able to talk about what’s best for her together.

    Reply this comment
  106. Richard Hicks
    Richard Hicks 23 October, 2016, 20:43

    Luckily they are not divorced. Dont know any friends that have divorced

    Reply this comment

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