Article by Wendy McCance
The world is changing. Divorce is as common as marriage. Remarrying after divorce is almost expected it’s so common. Well, that’s all fine and good, but a lot of the time kids are involved and their feelings should count. I am all for remarriage and step-parents, but only when the person coming into the fold is respectful of a child’s past and only wants to help to nurture their future. I am ok with a parent deciding to remarry when they take great care to be considerate to their child’s feelings. They should take care to make sure the child’s history with their other parent stays relevant and important to the child.
Recently I have heard of some devastating stories of adults treating their children so poorly in the face of divorce and remarriage that it makes my heart ache for the child involved. There is a child I have come to know whose mother died and the father remarried. A few months into the new marriage the child went to visit some family members. When she came back, the step-mom had “surprised” her by painting her room, getting new bedding and tossing out old mementos.
The child was devastated. The room had been previously painted by her mom before she had died. The bedding and the mementoes were the only other traces of the child’s connection to her mother that she still had. The step-mom had known about the specialness of the child’s room but wanted to erase the signs of the mom who had once been living in that home.
Another step-mom I know decided to put up Facebook accounts for children who were too young to have their own accounts. On the new account, she listed herself as the “mother” and then filled in the rest of the family with the appropriate titles. The mother of the child who is in a joint custody situation with the father was not mentioned and from all appearances appeared not to exist. For the child, it was extremely uncomfortable to have a Facebook account that they didn’t have control over with a different person assuming the role of the parent. There was no respect for the child and the child’s feelings towards their mother (how does the kid even explain the lack of the mom mentioned when friends see the page?) In both of these situations, the father’s were basically oblivious to the emotional scarring that would take place from the actions of people trying to erase past events and take control of a title not reserved for them.
Why is it that there is such a lack of consideration for the child’s feelings. What ever happened to just being a supportive, loving individual who cared for a child and wanted to show support for everything they have gone through in their life instead of just what they were going through now? Why do some people get so hung up on a title or competitive to stand out and be noticed?
There should be no competitiveness for the lead position of the new parent especially when the other parent is still an active important part of the child’s life. There should be no trying to erase a child’s good memories of the person who was or still is close to them. How devastating for the child and how selfish of the new person coming into the family. Really, what good comes from trying to deny a past history? Why must there be a pushing and shoving match to try to come out on top and be noticed the most?
I just truly don’t get it. I have seen these type of people feed off of recognition but not give the poor kid the time of day. I have seen the father side with the step-mom and gingerly help them through the process of feeling fully in charge as a parent while they run over the kids feelings and give them the you better just get used to it attitude. Honestly, the whole thing just breaks my heart. I feel like I need to take a stand for these poor kids and smack some sense into these adults that are more concerned with their own selfish feelings than that of the child who depends on them as they grow up. To these adults I say, be the parent you wished you had. Grow up and take the responsibility of having children in your life seriously. None of this is about you and never will be. It’s all about the child and helping them to develop into a loving, caring, responsible adult. Get over yourself!
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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