Divorce Doesn't Always Ruin A Family
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My Parents Are Divorced, But That Never Split Our Family Up

Although divorce has an inescapable, negative connotation attached to it, my parents are prime examples of how that connotation can be extremely inaccurate.

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My Parents Are Divorced, But That Never Split Our Family Up
Sarah Nele

My favorite way to wind down from an overwhelmingly busy week has always been to enjoy every last minute of a lazy, refreshing Sunday.

As my precious Sunday starts to wind down, I've been using this last bit to reflect on what a perfect Sunday it has been. While I don't have any tests to cram for, homework to catch up on, or laundry to wrestle with, the lack of pressing concerns hasn't even been the highlight of my day.

The real highlight has been spending the entire day with both of my parents.

I say both because, even though they're divorced, all three of us reunited for a nice, easy Sunday together.

We joked and teased each other over a three-hour lunch and capped off the day by watching a three-hour New Orleans Saints win over the Baltimore Ravens. Even after the divorce, my family still manages to spend ample quality time together.

While I know it's often uncommon to find divorced parents who are civil with each other, much less get along, my parents have consistently defied the odds. Even from the beginning, my parents always showed a surprising and mature level of respect towards each other.

They were always very cautious to keep their business theirs and not air out any "dirty laundry" that may have been hidden behind the scenes. My sister and I were also never subject to being used as pawns by one parent in an effort to get at the other. Although divorces are often sticky and complicated, my parents didn't allow theirs to progress that way.

They certainly didn't let me or my sister get tangled up in any of the details, either.

I was 11 years old when my parents' divorce was finalized, and that can usually mean some fairly rocky things for young children. The back and forth between houses, the scheduled days in which you can see each parent, and the "Who do I spend which holiday with?" conundrum.

I, on the other hand, never really faced these daunting issues. My parents, yet again, chose to live out their separation differently. I was always allowed to choose when I stayed with each parent, and I usually just alternated holidays, (except for Christmas, which I'll get to later).

For the most part, they both showed up to all my games and ceremonies and celebrated my birthdays together. I never felt the stress many children of divorced parents have to deal with.

Since my parents' divorce was finalized 10 years ago, minimal things have changed in the way we all interact on a day-to-day basis. Starting with holidays, my mother is invited to my dad's parents' house every year to celebrate Christmas Eve, and without fail, she shows up every year.

On the flip side, my mother's parents' host a Christmas Day celebration at their house every year, in which case my dad is always invited. Both sides of the family still send each other gifts for Christmas as well. Secondly, my grandparents on my dad's side are still very close to my mom, and my grandparents on my mom's side are still very close to my dad.

Their relationships haven't wavered one bit since the divorce was final.

Lastly, my parents still buy each other gifts for every applicable holiday; they buy birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Father's Day gifts, and Mother's Day gifts. A heartfelt, meaningful card is always sent with the gifts, too.

By this point, some of you may be giving an odd look to your computer or Smartphone screen, and that's usually what happens when I explain this. Most people can't get around the fact that my parents are still so close and have maintained such a good, healthy relationship.

I agree. it does seem like a bewildering concept compared to the average divorce, but it's something I continue to be proud of.

Not only am I proud of the amount of dignity my parents have maintained, but I'm also incredibly grateful for their consideration towards my sister and me. In reality, all divorced parents should be considerate of their kids. In reality, not all divorced parents are.

I'm not here to bash or shame anyone, but I'm definitely here to point out serious problems that can, with some effort, be avoided.

For starters, DO NOT DRAG YOUR CHILDREN INTO YOUR DRAMA.

I don't think I can stress enough how damaging it is to expose children to the bad-mouthing of a parent. When one or both parents trash talk each other, it can devastate children's perceptions of each parent. There are a time and a place for venting; neither the time nor the place ever involves the children.

Equally as important, USING CHILDREN FOR PERSONAL REVENGE IS CHEAP AND UNFAIR. Children are not bargaining points nor are they vesicles for revenge, and they most certainly shouldn't be treated as such. It's a blatant lack of respect for children to use them for personal gain.

While each parent may think she or he is only hurting the other parent, that train of thought completely disregards the potential harm created for the children.

To say that I'm thankful to my parents would honestly be an understatement.

I feel very privileged for the stability I grew up with, despite having divorced parents. I know that my upbringing would easily be considered a bit of a luxury compared to most situations. While I wish all children of divorced parents could grow up in circumstances similar to mine, I know that it hasn't been and won't be the case.

All I can really hope for is that mine and my parents' story can provoke other divorced parents to evaluate their choices carefully. Be mindful of the environment you want your children to grow up in, and then work towards making that a reality.

Not every day is a walk in the park, and not everyone can get along all the time, but putting forth the best effort to work things out respectfully can go a long way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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