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ReneeJaques

To Renee Jacques at HuffPo: your kids and divorce article was callous and one-sided

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To Renee Jacques at HuffPo,

I came across your article today:

11 Reasons Your Parents’ Divorce Isn’t So Bad After All

The piece is so callous that at first I wondered if you were joking. Then I realized you weren’t joking.

It’s hard to know where to start in my criticism of your piece, so let’s just dive into the middle:

3. You know to never ignore your emotions and to face your feelings. That way, you can make the hard but important decisions in your life.

“You know to never ignore your emotions….” except your emotions about your parent’s divorce and how confusing it is. Those must be ignored at all costs, so that your parents won’t ever feel bad about their choices. If your feelings make them feel bad, this might jeopardize your standing with them since as a child you’re the vulnerable one.

Or how about this:

4. You begin to realize how much your opinion matters to your parents.

“Your opinion matters to your parents…”  except your opinion about their divorce(s), remarriages, and all the new kids coming and going in and out of your life… AND how disruptive this is to your happiness and sense of unity. THAT opinion doesn’t matter at all. But your parents really and truly respect all of your OTHER opinions, just not that one.

Here we have redefined the word permanent:

6. You learn how to accept and love the new people who are suddenly a permanent part of your life.

Let me see if I understand: some new people, who are not genetically related to you, are now a permanent part of your life… even though your parents decided that they are not permanently part of each others lives even though they genetically share YOU as a child, and this is supposed to be a lesson in permanence? With easy divorce laws, what kind of permanence is that?

Here’s a clear example of the double standard that kids of divorce have to live under:

8. You know how to call two different houses your home.

Have you ever wondered why the kids are the ones who must go from home to home? If it’s so great to have two bedrooms in two different homes, giving you “more freedom to decorate,” then why don’t the parents do this? The kids should have one home and the parents can have all the fun of having two homes and two bedrooms to decorate, and this can go on for 15+ years–SO FUN! YEA! But wait: do you know ANY divorced parents who do this for their kids? I don’t and I never have. And why might that be? Could it be that it’s really NOT that great? Could it be that it’s actually very disruptive and stressful?

All of these “tips” basically say, “Suck it up kid. Grow up and get over it, because your parents are going to do what they are going to do, and I’m always going to support them over your feelings.”

And in case you’re wondering why I feel so strongly about this, check out my street creds. I don’t have your education, Renee, but I do have this:

http://www.ruthblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Jennifer-s-family-huffpo-page-001.jpg

I got the full dose of alternative family forms, your lessons in “permanence,” all those people supposedly making “life way more entertaining.”

All lies, and I’m not alone in saying this. Renee, I encourage you to research the harmful impact of divorce before writing about it again. Your “viral content” is spreading untrue ideas about kids and divorce. Here are two book recommendations:

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: a 25 Year Landmark Study

Between Two Worlds: the Inner Lives of Children of Divorce

Then again, maybe my initial impression was correct. Maybe you were joking. I sure hope so.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Johnson



 

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