Circumstantial Change

I used to think I had Nazi’s for parents…that they were as bad as it could possibly get. I was clearly very wrong and the main reason I began to notice that was because of two things. One, most of the strictness came from my father and second, I took a look at my friends parents/family lives.

Circumstance changes everything, if the time is right things will happen that may have never occurred in the first place. My parents separation was a huge adjustment for everyone. I chose to live with my mom full time, where as my little brother goes back and forth each week. I feel like that decision may have determined the fate of my dad and I’s relationship but in turn it strengthened my mother and I’s more than ever.

I soon realized that my mothers insescent pushing to get me to communicate with her more was the key to unlocking freedom. I took a big step and finally started to talk. I told her everything about boys, my friends and I even went as far as to discuss drinking and partying. I opened the flood gates and it was probably the best choice I’ve ever made. We talk about almost everything and it’s amazing. I may not take the advice that she gives me initially but her words will stick with me and they truly do help. When my father’s opinion stopped being a concern in regards to my curfew, what I can do in my free time and basically all aspects of my freedom levels, things suddenly became immensely better. My mom trusts me and that’s one of the greatest feelings. We have an open relationship and even though there are speed bumps along the way, and I still sometimes struggle to tell the truth all the time, our relationship is better than it has ever been before.

If I could give one word of advice to anyone, but especially kids/teens, it would be “communicate.” It’s hard, I’m not going to lie, but when the walls come down and there is open communication between kids and parents everything is smoother. The circumstances surrounding my parents divorce were horrendous, but from all that pain came something that will benefit me in the rest of my life.

Communicating with my parents was always hard, especially with my dad. He isn’t mature in the sense that he can’t have a conversation without jumping into screaming and yelling mode and while my parents were together I could see it rubbed off on my mom, even though she tried hard to not be that way. That was one of the main reasons I wouldn’t talk to them about the struggles I endured during my life. There was also the fact that I didn’t want them to judge me. Everyone tells me there’s no way your parents could judge you, but thats wrong. Clearly my father judges me for not wanting to live with him and his way of showing that is by cutting me out of his life, so it’s unfair to say there is no judgement in the arena of parenthood.

I was one of the lucky ones, when I opened up to my mom she reciprocated and supported me. Other’s don’t get that same benefit. One of my best friends could never talk to her parents about anything. Her mother is slowly becoming more open but her father is even worse than mine from the stories she’s told me. He’s called his own daughter certain things that should never be said under any circumstance and by doing so he’s shut down any chance of ever having a relationship with his child. I’ve witnessed first hand my friends strict parents and all the dumb rules that are put into play, like early curfews, car monitors and constant checking in on them. None of those things work, as the famous quote goes, “strict parents create sneaky kids.”

For all the parents out there dealing with similar situations or having issues with their kids, all I can urge you to do, as a teenager myself, is talk to your kids. Give them the ability to believe in you and to trust that they are safe talking to you about even the most uncomfortable topics. It will save you from a world of complications you probably never want to deal with…believe me, I didn’t talk to my parents about my life for a while and it dragged me way down hill and now that I’m able to communicate openly, I’m at such a great place in life.

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Omission

Lies are lies, plain and simple. A common misconception is that lying by omission doesn’t count… that’s just incorrect. Clearly if it’s something you aren’t willing to say out loud and just because you don’t say it doesn’t make it okay. I’m not going to say I’ve never lied before because that would be a gigantic lie in and of itself but I’ve learned my lesson…when you lie, it ALWAYS comes and bites you in the ass later. So I try to avoid lying at all costs, it’s proven to be a good choice because I haven’t been in trouble lately and my relationships with the people that matter are stronger than ever.

I think in my life there have been a few lies that have stuck out more than others. When I think lying by omission, my mind goes straight to the moment my brother spoke the words, “Oh yeah dad is engaged.”

Apparently, without letting anyone know, my dad proposed to his girlfriend of 6 months. Let me just mention that he and my mother were together for 13 years and he never popped the question. That thought disgusts me, but more than that, the idea that he wouldn’t even have the courage to tell me to my face that he did it. I just don’t understand, how can someone do that to another person? Your going to try to get me to like your girlfriend but you won’t even tell me that your planning to wife her up, it’s just uncanny.

What frustrated me was the fact that I found out a couple weeks prior to my 17th birthday. I hadn’t talked to my dad in weeks but he asked to take me to dinner for my birthday, I said yes but only if my brother and a couple friends could come. He agreed. He took us all out to my favorite sushi restaurant and the entire time I knew that he was engaged, yet through that entire night he neglected to mention it. That is something I will never comprehend. It was also the moment I knew he had lost the little amount of respect I had left for him after cheating on my mom.

It’s funny, everyone I’ve talked to now that my parent’s are split up tell me the same thing. They all thought my dad was a lair and untrustworthy…even a little slimy, but no one was willing to speak up. When in fact, their words may have saved my family so much trouble. Through this, through all the pain, I took an important lesson away. That being, no matter how hard it may be to tell someone the truth, it’s better to do so than speak lies and in turn destroy what could have never been broken.

Sea of Separation

I’ve seen divorce, seen the kids broken down, seen families fall to pieces in the blink of an eye…never did I think I’d fall next. I watched my parents fight for years before it began to hit me that they may separate. That day came in November of 2012. Shocked and heartbroken I sat and watched my mom fall apart. I stood strong, trying to mask all my feelings on the subject; I felt it was my job to be the rock.

My mom and I got closer as time passed and she told me the reason for their split. My “father” had been cheating. Hearing that broke my heart… I’ll admit to my flaws and mistakes, I’ve cheated but I’ve also been cheated on and in no way could I imagine being betrayed by the person I’d loved for 13 years.

My hatred for my father began to increase as time went on. I didn’t and still don’t understand…he’s my dad and he just left me standing the shit storm. He didn’t even look back. I never wanted to lose our relationship but suddenly it all disappeared right before my eyes when I told him I didn’t want to move back and forth each week. The contact between us just stopped and without even realizing it, he became nothing more than a wallet to me. I think the hardest part for me to swallow was when I found out he was engaged from my little brother and that the woman had a 5 year old daughter. She replaced me and even if he doesn’t want to admit to it or see it, his actions make it perfectly clear.

You see, my what I guess is technically my step father, took me on when I was 3 years old. I don’t remember that day exactly but when I think about it now, I think about how I finally got a dad, someone to look up to and to have there for me through thick and thin. I was wrong.

Divorce hasn’t done all bad to me… my mom and I’s relationship has never been stronger in my opinion, but it’s hard sometimes when I see how much it affects her. She’s there for me through it all but she snaps. Not violently, but she will get upset about seemingly meaningless things and lash out at my brother and I with words. Now I admit, sometimes those thing’s are my fault or I provoke them but it still hurts. I already lost my dad, I can’t loose her too.

Plain and simple, divorce sucks. It takes a toll on the 2 adults involved but I think it affects the kids the most. Being a child coming from a divorced home, I am bias but don’t ever think for a second that it doesn’t kill us inside everyday. The thing about kids from divorced families, is we learn better than anyone how to hide our emotions because even if no on will openly admit to it, we feel responsible and feel we must be the anchor in the rocky sea of separation.