Children of Divorce Grow Up and It’s Still a Pain

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About Zach Rosenberg

Zach Rosenberg is a husband and father living in Southern California. He is co-founder of
fatherhood news site, and a contributor to You can also find him on Twitter @zjrosenberg.


  1. The Wet One says:

    Family life.

    Ain’t it grand?

    Never had to do this in my life. But I can certainly see how it makes things interesting…

    • It does. Sometimes we envy the people with family out of town/state. But, we also have parents with a lot of love around us and who can be involved in my son’s life. My grandparents lived out of state, so I rarely saw them. It’s great my son can grow up with so many people around that love him.

  2. Wow. Sounds like a lot of work. And I can’t help wondering (from my admittedly ignorant position) if you are trying too hard to be fair. It can be exhausting doing that.

    On the plus side, figuring out schedules requires a good deal of communication. If you are able to develop a functional schedule, then I’m willing to bet your extended family has well-developed communication skills.

    • We’re definitely trying hard to be fair. Really, more for our son than our parents, since we know our parents understand. But our kid doesn’t necessarily understand why he can’t go to someone’s house RIGHT THEN AND THERE! But, he also doesn’t understand why he can’t have chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, so there’s that! Thanks for reading!

  3. Whew. As someone with divorced parents (and parents who had a far uglier divorce by the sound of it), all I can say is, I wouldn’t put up with it.

    Reading your article I get the impression that your family is into conflict avoidance – and that it maybe influenced you? I certainly wouldn’t stand for what you are describing. I think that, once you’re over 30, you have the right to expect your parents to be adults. In my world, that means if they can’t (despite whatever history) be both at birthday parties for the grandchildren, and be there in a positive way, they can fuck off. It’s not my job to make sure that everything is “shared fairly” in order to accomodate their immature issues. It’s their job to be fair to the rest of the family and shield the rest of us from this issue.

    Just think if both sets of grandparents were divorced. And maybe your brother, too. You can’t be expected to accomodate all of that by separate events for everyone. Yes, for the first few years after a divorce, but for a divorce that happened 25 years ago? Time to grow up. Really.

    I think it’s completely unreasonable for your parents to impose this situation on you. I also think it’s probably become a habit – it’s just the way it is. To me, it sounds like it’s time for you to say “no more”. Be clear on what *you* (you and your wife) want. Don’t start from all the restrictions, start from what you’d like it to be and let them follow. Or not. If they won’t, it their responsibility, not yours.

    • Something I didn’t flesh-out well in the article – both sets of my parents can definitely be at birthday parties. They really DO operate well, separately. And, there’s a lot of love from everyone for my son, which is the most important thing.

      It’s such a difficult thing to describe in-whole in an article like this – but everything’s more or less “okay” most of the time. There’s barbs here and there, but in-general, the idea I wanted to convey is that when your parents are divorced and you have your own kids, you spend a lot of time scheduling – as you do even with married parents. But make two sets of parents into THREE?! That ends up making weekly schedules tough.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Great piece, Zach.

    My parents can now be at larger events together- family birthdays, etc. But it’s been a long road to get there. The year my mom set fire to my dad’s house was really bad (God, I wish I were kidding).


  5. Well done, Mr. Rosenberg. This article, which I’m reading over my morning coffee, is serving as a guidepost to how I may navigate the rough waters of my own divorce [and parenthood] here. I never considered nor envisioned these kinds of issues. Wow. Hats off.

  6. Joan Price says:

    Divorce is so tough. When I was younger, I was part of a group for divorced kids. It helped more than I would have thought. There’s a program right now that is starting a curriculum for helping out divorced children which Halsey Minor helped get off the ground. It’s called Kids Turn. I hope it goes well and can help kids trying to learn how to juggle both parents.

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