The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


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Opinion: Going house to house: living as a child of divorce and separation

Becoming a child of divorce can be a challenging journey, marked by unique experiences and emotions. According to Bowling Green State University, as of 2022, 14.56 divorces occur per 1,000 married women in the United States, with roughly one in two children seeing their parents split or their parents’ marriage end in divorce. While such an experience varies for each individual, especially one that seems to lack rarity these days, some commonalities between every person’s story truly define living as a child of divorce or separation.

The average age at the time of parental divorce in the United States is roughly six to seven years old, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS.) As these are the formative years of learning, they can leave an impact on a child’s academic drive in school from an early age. Children whose parents divorce tend to have worse educational outcomes than children whose parents stay married. However, not all children react in the same way when their parents divorce. According to PNAS, parental divorce is, on average, associated with unfavorable outcomes among children, including on their ability to complete high school and to attend and complete college. In cases in which divorce was unexpected by the family, the worse the outcome, but children of families that expected the divorce are typically less affected by its consequences, usually dealing with concerns related to mental health and academic drive.

In elementary school, I was reminded by my peers that I was lucky that I got to have “two Christmases.” I admit, the thought of having the joy of opening presents twice on Christmas day is quite exciting. When Christmas finally approached I began to realize that although I was glad I got to spend time with both of my parents that day, it wasn’t together like I was used to. As time went on, it began to come down to deciding what holidays would be spent with what parent, a choice many children of separate families have to face. According to PNAS, choosing between one parent over the other causes children to have higher levels of stress in the first few months to a year after the initial divorce and separation. This seemingly simple task can become daunting, especially when it follows into adulthood.

Another common experience includes living in two different houses, one for each parent. For some, the typical week starts at one parent’s house, the one that remains within the boundaries of their school district, and ends on a Sunday with the other parent. Such an experience has even fostered trends on social media. One trend, created on TikTok, showcases the kids’ rooms at each of their parents’ houses. Viewers have to guess which one they live at based on how decorated the room is. The house they typically live in is the one that is nicely decorated while the other may have bare walls with old room decor from when they were children. Though the trend may provide a funny insight into having to go from house to house, the reality can be much more stressful.

Though statistics prove being a child of divorce to be difficult, there are just as many positive outcomes despite the unfortunate situation. There have been several noticeable traits found among children of divorce. According to some of these traits include adaptability, resilience, self-sufficiency and a strong sense of independence and empathy for others, skills that follow through to adulthood. Such traits help children of divorce and separation navigate confidently through future challenges and possible setbacks. Being a child impacted by a parents separation has shown that such a situation builds stronger relationships with parents and siblings and a deeper understanding of healthy relationship dynamics.

Watching your parents separate can be a challenging and stressful experience, but over time it begins to ease over. It’s important to take the time to communicate with parents about your wants and/or needs as it helps minimize stress. If any of your friends have parents going through a divorce or separation, make sure to check up on them and offer them a support system if need be. Even if you have never been through this experience, the best thing you can do is listen.

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About the Contributor
Aundrea Woods
Aundrea Woods, Sports Editor
Aundrea is a junior at East, where she runs for Track and XC. She enjoys traveling, writing, and music.

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