In His Own Words | Dean’s Story – When My Parents Separated, Part 3

Dean contacted One Family because he wished to share his personal experience of when his parents separated. In the third and final part of a series, this is Dean’s story in his own words. He is now 16 years old.

So, where do we end up after years of arguments, confusion and ambiguity? There are only two real outcomes; one being the future continues on, with separated parents; and the other, continuing on with reconciled parents. In my case I am currently living with both of my parents, who have managed to work through their issues after one and a half years of separation.

I find it pertinent to emphasise that this is not always the case, and for some people it’s not the outcome we want. I stress to any child who has gone through the same experience as me, your life is not determined by the life of your parents. It would be foolish to allow something to constrict you to a certain path; we know not of the future, but we can for sure shape it. That shaping isn’t the job of your parents, they have done their part. It is up to you now, don’t let yourself crumble. Take advantage of your opportunities, if they don’t exist; create them. Learn from their mistakes and strive to be a better “you” every day. I have failed to find a better sense of satisfaction than that feeling you have when you see how far you have come. There will be those dark times in your life, and perhaps they will be in a greater quantity than your brightest times… But that’s the thing about your dark times, in the presence of your success they cannot be seen. That darkness only exemplifies your light, giving a support providing ‘frame’ to the beautiful painting of your triumph.

If there was one piece of advice I would give, I would say – though it seems scary and different and all you want is for things to go back to what they were – remember that how things were (or how they appeared to be) wasn’t what you thought it was. And when we realise that, and we accept that, that is when we can truly begin to rebuild.

I think I speak for most people when I say the last thing we want is for our parents to be unhappy with themselves. So if this becomes your reality, or is currently your reality, remember; it is not anything to do with you, as the child. Of course you might hear conversations between your parents mentioning you, or arguing about doing something for you. This is just going to happen, but in the vast majority it’s never really about you. You just become a proxy for them to air out their own feelings.

To the parents who feel so shrouded in doubt they are almost at the point of collapse: children are strong, and can be a lot stronger than you think. I understand as a parent you are filled with this sense of protection, this want to be a perfect example. But what is a perfect example? Is it better to act like nothing is wrong, stripping the child and yourself of any reality perception? Or is it better to show them people are flawed, a continuing work of art? Parents tell their children to come to them with any problems they have, but it doesn’t have to be a one-way street.

Above anything else, just be honest. I know there will be that voice in the back of your mind telling you that a certain piece of information is too hard for the child to handle, but one way or another it’s going to come out. You have the choice to control the situation, or to let it manifest into something so crippling that the future relationship you wished to have is nothing but turmoil.

Everyone has their own specific experience, and everyone has the right to their own life. Please, I do not ask for you to take everything I’ve said as gospel, all I wish is that people use my story as a reference, as thinking food. I don’t know everything, and I’m sure my views will change, as I do. If I can help just one person, even to the smallest extent, I would be happy knowing I’ve made a positive change.

There is nothing in this world more humbling than seeing someone exuberant, and above all, happy.

– Dean

Read Part 1 of Dean’s story here and Part 2 here.


Note: Stock image used, istockphoto

In His Own Words | Dean’s Story – When My Parents Separated, Part 2

Boy on mountainDean contacted One Family because he wished to share his personal experience of when his parents separated. In the second of a series, this is Dean’s story in his own words. He is now 16 years old.

“But why? But what about? But how?” These questions are always synonymous with any major change in life. The thing is, your parents often don’t know the answers to the questions you’re asking. This is why they might appear dismissive and reluctant to answer you. By no means let this stop you from asking questions: you should ask, it affects your life as well. For many kids that go through this, it is often when they realise their parents are just people that they begin to understand. Your parents make mistakes, have disagreements, arguments, shout, yell and have emotions. Just like anybody else, just like you.

For a long time these questions haunted me, I just wanted clarity. As time went on, as things further developed, this need to know everything drifted away. You see, for me there was really only thing I wanted to know more than anything. “Were things okay?” That was all I wanted. I just wanted to know that no matter what the situation was, that things were okay, that people were happy.

One thing that I don’t share with many other people that have gone through this, is the feeling of guilt. I never felt as if the separation was a product of what I did, or didn’t do. I always on some level knew that it was to do with my parents’ own quarrels.

I did, however, feel the need to fix things. I think this is one of the most debilitating parts of the separation of two people you’re so close to. You just want to help, to return things back to “normal”.

The issue lies with that word, ‘normal’ … what is normal? It’s such a subjective word that it causes more harm than good.

Through all the difficulties, be it small or large, when I came to realise that ‘normal’ wasn’t exactly what’s best for me, my parents or my siblings, things got so much better. When we let go of that burden to fix things, and just concentrate on living the life we have now, things become brighter, better.

If I had to go through everything again to get to the point where I am now, where my family is now, I would do it in a heartbeat. And I think that’s what shows that a separation doesn’t always mean a destruction.

Life works out, always.

Part 1 of Dean’s story can be read here. Read Part 3 here.

Note: Stock image used.

In His Own Words | Dean’s Story – When My Parents Separated

SeparationDean contacted One Family because he wished to share his personal experience of when his parents separated. In the first of a series, this is Dean’s story in his own words. He is now 16 years old.

When people tend to bring up living in a house with separating parents, it always seems to be a rather saddening story; a tale of sorrow and anguish. Sometimes this can be true but for the majority of cases, mine included, it doesn’t live up to the tumultuous stories of the past.

Perhaps it was because the whole situation began when I was aged 12, but I don’t feel that the separation was detrimental. Of course there were times where it was difficult; where I didn’t understand what, when or why, but this just wasn’t common. I don’t really remember any specific events, no categorically haunting memories.

One of the main things I see children struggle with when they’re in this situation is picking a side. What we don’t realise is we shouldn’t have to pick a side, and we shouldn’t pick a side.

A lot of the time there are many things omitted when we receive the news of the separation from our parents. Whether this is done in an attempt to protect us, or it is a flawed system to save the opinions of both parents I don’t know, but it seems to be a common practice. One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is to admit to their children that they weren’t right, or things didn’t work out the way they’d hoped.

As people, we have a tendency to demonise and hate change, subsequently hating the thing or person who has brought it. Throughout my experience I found I likened the separation to things on a smaller scale, such as equating it to a fight between friends where a lot of the time you only hear one side of the story leaving more questions than answers, but in the end, it always is resolved. Call it a coping mechanism, a means to understand – whatever you wish – but it made things simpler for me, and that’s what I wanted. It truly is the complexity of things that leaves us bewildered, that leaves that feeling of betrayal of trust or loyalty in our stomach.

Read Part 2 of Dean’s story here.

Note: Stock image used.