The wisdom of adult children of divorce

What children suffer and say about their families separating, shapes the change the world needs now. We can learn more with the wisdom of adult children of divorce.

The US mediation service, Concord Mediation Group, has set up a YouTube channel to share stories to help re-imagine family separation. Grown up, the children’s stories remain poignant and pointed.

Trauma and taboo

In their brief videos, Rabbi Blass – “Prevent decades-long trauma” – and Tziri Frank – “Permission to speak: Stigma of divorce” – understand why their families split up, stressful though that was. They’ve both survived to tell the tale. Their concern is in the way separation happens and affects the children.

They both have important lessons to share. Their advice takes us much further than just to use the often belated – though valuable – mediation services.

If the parent is turning to the children for them to meet their emotional needs, that is a disastrous situation with a capital D … The feelings are painful and require a lot of attention and work so they do not cause even further trauma for all.

Rabbi Blass, “Prevent decades-long trauma”

[Later with her own child’s special needs] … I remembered divorce and I remembered being silent and I said No. I said if we’re quiet about this it will be something we’re embarrassed about … So No, we’re not being quiet about this.

Tziri Frank, ““Permission to speak: Stigma of divorce”
Lessons to be learned

Young children of family separation and divorce, as well as wiser grown up children, have lots to teach us. Those harmful experiences motivate many thousands as parents, helpers and campaigners to try to do things better now.

But the good advice has yet to become the world’s norm. “Preventing decades of trauma” and “not remaining silent” are still not a common culture.

Separating means that stress pre-occupies families. Better awareness and help are around for sure. But still the over-riding common view points fraught parents straight to an adversarial legal system and its well-known harmful effects.

The wisdom of adult children of divorce calls us to re-imagine family separation more thoroughly. That means growing cultural awareness along with routine accessible earlier support and help.