The Effects of Divorce on Children

How My Parents’ Divorce Turned Me Into Jason Bourne

The effects of divorce on children often makes them into fantastic spies.

My parents divorced when I was two. I decided I’d learn 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 the Portuguese name, Gilberta de Piento — just like Jason Bourne.

I felt this was my destiny as I orbited two homes as disparate as Jupiter and Mars, each requiring its own language and skills.

My mom remarried a police officer who had two sons that were three and six years older than me.

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
   (There I am, disguised for the moment as a harbor rat.)

My dad lived in Upland, California in a tract housing development similar to the one Edward Scissorhands.

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.)

147 thoughts on “The Effects of Divorce on Children”

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. Debbi Wellenstein

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

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

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

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


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

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

  15. 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

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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. Stephanie Phelps

    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!

  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


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

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

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

  35. Jerry Marquardt

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

  36. 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.

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