“Divorce is always tough on the children, especially when that child is young and doesn’t truly understand what is going on. For me, I was 7 years old, yet I can still recant the exact details of the day my parents told me they were getting a divorce. If that wasn’t hard enough, my dad soon remarried and my brother and I were asked to accept this new woman as our stepmother. I had to quickly get used to new rules, a new female in the house, as well as 2 other resentful children, who were now my stepsisters. In between all of that I was moving between two houses, and watching my mom maneuver her way through the dating world. Over the next few years, I was introduced to many new men who would be involved in our family life for various amounts of time and then casually slip out of the picture. It could get pretty exhausting and confusing watching my mom’s process for finding my future stepdad. Sometimes I would get too attached, which made it difficult when they split up, and other times I would dislike them and would be less encouraged to spend time with my Mom. Either way I had no control over what was happening. This is a lot of change for a pre-adolescent child to endure and like many other children of divorce, I felt anger and resentment towards my parents. I also put a lot of blame onto my step mother because she seemed like the only tangible option to take my frustration out on. Looking back, there really was nothing my parents could have done to ease that anger and there were no changes that my stepmother could have made to make me accept her. I displayed negative emotions and reactions to express how much I loved and cherished my family–that was just the only way I knew how to express my feelings at the time. I was lucky that my dad chose a good woman and a good mother-figure. All she ever wanted was to be a part of our family, but the truth is, I just wasn’t ready to accept new additions at that time. However, a couple years past and the change that had once seemed so foreign and stressful became routine and more manageable. Once the anger had subsided I could see a lot of the positives that came out of the divorce. I could see how much happier my parents were and how lucky I was to have all these people in my life who loved me and wanted to support me. Of course, no child wants their parents to get divorced, but luckily I had amazing parents and a very understanding and supportive stepmother who were all aware of how much they were asking of my brother and I. They worked very hard to make the transitions as easy as possible and provide a life that would be just as good or even better than before. Realistically, that is all that parents can do in this situation. Divorce and new additions to families is going to be tough at the beginning. No one likes change. But, eventually, children will learn to see that parents are people too and they have the right to feel just as happy as we, kids, do. I wish I could give my younger self, and all unwilling children of divorce a gift that only time can give them – perspective.”

– Sarah F, Toronto