By Kristin, age 14, California
As a kid, our parents teach us many lessons in life ... don't talk to strangers, don't touch the stove ... but one lesson that an increasing number of us are having to learn is how to live separate from one of our parents half of the time. Now I don't know about a lot of things, but divorce I know about. My parents had been married for 12 years when they separated. My half-sister was 23, my half-brother was 20, and I was 11, and it tore me apart. After a year of shuttling back and forth my parents decided to get back together. Everything was perfect - my brother moved back to town, we moved into a beautiful house in a great area, and we were all really happy ... for a few months. Then the fighting started again, and it wasn't just mom and dad. My brother and his girlfriend spent every day arguing, and my sister and I never stopped bickering. I spent most of my time at my grandmother's house, hiding from the yelling, and even worse, the silence.
At the time, I hated my mom and I hated my siblings. I hated them for blaming everything on my father when I knew it wasn't all his fault, He hadn't done anything. All he had done was finally stand up to my mother, and they thought that it was all his fault. Once they decided that they were going to get divorced, I was happy because I knew that the fighting would stop, and it did. I moved in with my dad and my sister moved in with my mom. I visited occasionally, but she and I were still worlds apart, and I almost gave up on having a relationship with her.
But then something happened that brought us back together. She needed to have surgery, and even though it was a routine procedure, she was going to be off work for two months and would need someone to help her. I was with her in the hospital, and when she came home and we finally had time to talk or not talk, it didn't matter, because it didn't feel awkward not talking anymore.
Now, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting in my room at my mom's house, looking at my packed bags, all ready for when I have to leave again, and even though I'm lucky and my parents get along, even so well that we spent Christmas together, it's hard to decide where to spend my time, and whose feelings to hurt when I say I won't be there. But one thing I know for sure is that even though it's hard, it's better to be from a broken home than having to live in one.
Visit KidsHealth.org for support in this difficult time.