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Can parents please explain something to me……

  • Kimmi
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10 years 3 months ago #194429 by Kimmi
I am not suggesting that anyone has done or is capable of doing the following, I am just asking for some help in understanding what it is like to be a parent

This is something that has been on my mind for some time, my own circumstances and divorce have brought this to the fore again and I would love to hear from parents out there for their experiences and thoughts.

I am a child of divorce, I watched some truly horrific things when my mum and dad split up. I saw my dad hit my mum and had to listen to my mum’s rantings about my dad.
When I did get to see my dad, I was forced to share my time with him with his girlfriend. When they had a baby, I was meant to be happy for them, even though I knew it meant even less time with my dad.
My dad rarely if ever paid maintenance and he would let us down all the time. My mother eventually moved on herself and then I had to put up with her boyfriends dictating to us what we could and couldn’t do and generally getting involved in my family.

I am unable to have children and after losing 3 babies and never knowing the joy of being more than 12 weeks pregnant, can say that other than being very sick and one of my pregnancies almost killing me, I have never known what it is like to be a parent.
I listen to friends and read an awful lot on this forum about the problems regarding children in divorce and one thing strikes me again and again….

When did it become a right to be a parent and not a privilege?

Speaking from a child’s point of view, we went without because my dad ‘refused’ to pay any kind of money to my mum, my mum in turn went out to work and so we saw less of her too. Because of the this, and the fact that I was the oldest girl, I had to help with the cooking and cleaning and had to babysit for my younger sister. I even looked after my mum when the stress made her so ill that she could do nothing more than lie in bed and cry, she had lost so much weight and was so sick, so I cared for her too. I can honestly say that my ‘childhood’ was over by the time I reached 10 years old. Dad withheld contact from us because of my mother. My mum was angry at my dad for leaving the four of us homeless and penniless.
My mum would take her frustrations with my dad out on us kids. I lost count of the amount of ‘good hidings’ I got because of what my dad was doing. How many times my mum met us after school with a bag of sweets because she was sorry is beyond me, if I guessed I would say at least 3 times a week.
I remember one beating that was so bad I couldn’t do PE for almost a month because of the bruises. This was due to my dad being annoyed at my mum because she had a boyfriend (even though he had left us to live with his girlfriend).

What I don’t get, and this is because I do not understand the passions and love involved in having children, is why do divorcing parents make it so difficult for each other? Why would either a husband or a wife think that by doing something to upset the other, that the children will not be affected?

If these words were being said by a child today, we would all be up in arms and social services would be involved because it would be ‘child abuse’. So as an abused child, abandoned, physically, emotionally, financially by my father, and beaten by my mother, why do I still love both of my parents? I’ve had beatings from both, my dad was a drug user and a drinker, my mother a paranoid neurotic but they were my parents and all I ever wanted was to have both of them! Did neither of them realise that when we did not get to see dad, it broke our hearts, did neither of them realise that each time they took their frustrations out on us, that it broke our hearts?
I know things were tough, I know divorce is difficult (I’ve been there now) but why, why could they not put their petty hatreds of each to one side for the sake of us kids?

I am asking you this now as a child, not as an ex wife, a woman etc, I am asking the question to parents, as a child.

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  • notmuchlongernow
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10 years 3 months ago #194447 by notmuchlongernow
Replied by notmuchlongernow on topic Re:Can parents please explain something to me……
There isn't a quick answer to such a complex question! I think parents who are cruel to their children (in any way) are often that way because their own role models were poor. Your parents sound immature and self destructive people...this is much more your tragedy than theirs.
Why do you love them? Because the bonding of child to parent is incredibly resilient. Lots and lots of research amongst humans and other mammals is that the young will form virtually unbreakable bonds with whatever they perceive as a parent, no matter how inadequate or even hrmful it is. One particularly sad experiment was with monkeys who bonded to cloth \"parents\" and suffered huge trauma when seperated.We also have a society whose norms are that we \"love\" our parents.
When did parenting become a \"right\"? Never as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately that view isn't shared by many others. Parenting goes wrong for many reasons - one of them being the fact that you only get one shot at it, your only experience of parents prior to that is from the perspective of being a child!And frankly, just loving your child isn't enough to make you a good parent. It requires maturity, sacrifice, unselfishness, patience, stamina, the ability to be unpopular, self discipline etc etc. I could go on. Even then, we can get it wrong. I know my eldest experienced me as a different parent compared to my youngest - she got the benefit of me learning from all the mistakes I made along the way, whereas the eldest got all the rubbish parenting!
It is a sad story you have shared with us today - sadly one experienced by others, and probably many more as yet unborn little people will go through it too. We can only hope that the decent people we encounter will provide us with the ability to stay positive and change things for the better xxx

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  • Gershie
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10 years 3 months ago #194448 by Gershie
Kimmi

If only more parents considered their actions and the repercussions that can affect the kids before they did them, the world would be a better place.

I am a strong advocate of 'Children come First' in any situation and that parents should put their lives on the back burner and get the children sorted before dealing with their own lives.

There is no excuse for what you have had to suffer both as a child and an adult. We should all learn by your experiences, but many don't and they just blunder their way through without giving any consideration to the little people.

It's a pity that we can't make people read your post before they post their own on seeking advice on how they have screwed up their kids lives but now look to improving their own at the kids expense yet again.

Being a parent is a fabulous thing, kids are great, but they come with a responsibility that we do not have the right to ignore. They never asked to be here and we have a duty to support them totally until they are old enough to do it for themselves.

You are obviously are a strong person in many ways or you would not have written what you have. You have my respect and my sympathy.

Gershie

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  • Forseti
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10 years 3 months ago #194450 by Forseti
I don't have an answer to that for you, Kimmi; I'm just responding because I am enormously moved by your post.

You are right that many parents now seem to think children a right (and a source of income) and not a blessing and privilege.

I think that love and hate are often two sides of the same coin, and that one can turn to the other in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps someone who has abused their children or withheld contact will have the honesty and self-analysis to put a reply here. I'm sure we would all like an answer.

I hope you find happiness, Kimmi.

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  • mike62
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10 years 3 months ago #194452 by mike62
Gershie,
I couldn't agree more with all of what you say.

MAYBE we should put an edited version of Kimmi's post as a sticky in Parental Responsibility part of the forum....

I cannot fathom how parents can use their children as weapons. It is morally reprehensible.

Mike


ps Kimmi was having trouble posting this, so pm'd me the post - this was my reply

Kimmi,

I am sat in an open plan office with about 20 people around with tears running down my face.

I had very little experience of divorce and it's effects until I met my wife. She too was a child of an extremely acrimonious divorce and although her parents divorced over 30 years ago, the damage done to my wife and her siblings is enormous and self-evident.

My parents were staunch Catholic 'dyed-in-the-wool-marriage-is-for-ever' types, who kept all their disagreements in the bedroom and NEVER in front of the children.

On our wedding day, my wife insisted that she be given away by her father, whilst her mother demanded that she be given away by her step-father. Her stepfather is a lovely bloke - salt of the earth type, who wouldn't have taken any offense at all. Her mother, on the morning of the wedding, refused to let her father even come up the garden path, let alone into the house to collect his daughter on her wedding day. SHe made him stand in the road outside, until she was ready to let my wife out.

The seeds that my MIL planted over the years are bearing fruit now, in that none of her 4 children or 5 grandchildren want anything much to do with her. She will die a lonely and bitter old woman. Why? Because she couldn't let go. She was sooo bitter about her husband - still to this day, I have NO idea what happened.

I think that is common to a lot of people. A deep selfishness that gnaws at people to the point that they would rather cut their hand off than let go of a perceived wrongdoing against them.

It's a rot in the fabric of society. Without being political, Margaret Thatchers vision of Britain had a lot to do with it. The 'What's in it for me?' mentality. People today don't look out for each other like they did as I remember. And this compo culture - 'No win no fee no chance' What have we become in this country?

About 2 months ago, the ex was having a heated debate with me about money - basically I have none at the moment and she still spends like Imelda Marcos. SHe didn't get her way in the argument, so punched me in the face in front of our elder two children. I would never retaliate - not my style, but I don't think the ex realises what an impact that will have on the children's respect for her.

You are so right - When did being a parent become a right? And what right do we have to use our children as a weapon of mass disruption between warring couples?

Its an area I try very hard to avoid. I would be lying if I said that I have NEVER badmouthed my wife to my children. Just very very rarely.

You have made me cry. You have made me think. You have made me remember just how precious my children are to me. THey are a gift, and are only on loan. I was there at all of their births and even delivered my daughter, who caught the midwife on the hop with the speed of arrival. THe bond that was created at that moment of holding them for the first time evokes tears even now. Makes you forget the dirty boxers and wet towels on the bathroom floor. Makes you remember what life SHOULD be about. My children are my raison d'etre. Why I do what I do. To support them and provide the best springboard to the real nasty and evil world that I can. Thats just me.

Mike

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10 years 3 months ago #194454 by Gershie
mike62 wrote:

MAYBE we should put an edited version of Kimmi's post as a sticky in Parental Responsibility part of the forum....


I couldn't agree more Mike, can you make that happen?

S**t! I think I am going to be crying for the rest of the day.

Gershie

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10 years 3 months ago #194460 by Kimmi
Gershie wrote:

mike62 wrote:

MAYBE we should put an edited version of Kimmi's post as a sticky in Parental Responsibility part of the forum....


I couldn't agree more Mike, can you make that happen?

S**t! I think I am going to be crying for the rest of the day.

Gershie


Gershie,

Sincerely, thank you.

And please don't cry. I just want to understand. No one seems to be able to put into words for me what it feels like to be a parent. I have asked how that instant rush of love and 'I would do anything for this baby' feeling is replaced by I'm going to make my ex's life hell and that the kids will be ok.

You know, someone the other day was saying how proud they were of their kids. I had to honestly say that my parents never really said that to me. I had to listen to my dad telling me how skint he was and that maybe if my mum was more reasonable he would maybe come see us more. I had to listen to my mother repeat my fathers short comings again and again.
All I wanted to hear was that they loved me, and even if they didn't love each other anymore, they still loved me, my brother and my sister.

Sorry, rambling again.

K/x

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