A 13 year old boy asks friends how they really felt about their parents splitting up when dad isn’t around like before.
Television has a strange way of showing kids what life is really about. Some of what you see may be fictional but a lot of it is based on real life events. With the different types of families shown on television and my not living in a two parent home, I wondered if other kids had the same experiences living without their dad in the same house. For some kids their father visits regularly and for others when the relationship with the mom is over the dad kind of just disappears. I had a chance to talk to a few kids who had their parents separate and the results were pretty interesting.
Here are the questions I asked and their real responses:
Kid #1 – Do you remember when your mother told you that your dad had left?
“Yes in fact I do. I was about 6 years old and my I had just gotten home from school. Mom sat me down for a talk. My mother said that the previous night my father had left. I was confused. I don’t really remember the conflicting emotions that I probably felt then. My mother told me that my father had left very late at night. I just assumed he had left early for work. She said that she didn’t tell me at the beginning of the day because she thought that I would have a very [in my words] severe and upsetting day.”
Kid #2 – Do you have an impression of what your mom was thinking when you asked where your dad was?
“This is a question that kids face a lot when their parents separate. I see this as being tough on the mom and the kid. The kid usually has a fantasy that parents are getting back together and the truth is hard to hear. Even though parents may not want to tell you the truth, at the end of the day it is better so you don’t feel hurt later by a parent withholding information.”
Kid #3 – I know you have a great relationship with your dad, was it always like that after your parents separated?
“My dad was cool from the time he left. Not everybody has a terrible experience like some of my friends. It was kind of fun at first because he did extra stuff to make sure I knew it wasn’t about me. He and my mom said they needed to make sure I knew they both loved me the same. Some kids don’t get that lucky and I think it’s because parents aren’t sure how to handle all of the emotions between each other on top of the kids. My parents used to argue a lot when they lived together and now it’s better.”
Kid #4 – What kind of emotions did you feel when your parents separated?
“I really have to think about that. I remember being really angry. I was about 11 when it happened. I really didn’t understand what was going on. Some of the stuff I did, I could of really got in trouble for. I took my anger out on just about everyone, even people who had nothing to do with it. It took a while and I got over it eventually and now me and my dad are really close. For me sports helped me get through my anger.”
Kid #5 – Now that you have grown and matured, what are your feelings towards your father?
“Well, my dad is not around at all. So this is a quick answer off of the top of my head. The feelings I feel for my father aren’t exactly ecstatic, as you may have guessed. Though I really don’t hate him, my feelings are, not completely gone but they are pushed away far enough so that if they ever came back it would not really bother me. Sure he wasn’t the greatest back then, but from my past experiences I know I’ll work harder on being a good father and maybe even husband when I grow up.”
My two cents…
There are good dads and dads who aren’t as equipped as others (and there can be moms like that too). Some understand how to deal with family break – ups and some, well not so much. I think it is important for the other parent to raise their kids the best way they can while trying not to influence their child’s thoughts about the other parent. I’m fortunate because just like a lot of other families out there my own did a great job focusing on the kids and not the situation.
Photo: Flickr/Mike Baird