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Why on earth are there so many one-parent homes? Of course, that's a rhetorical question. It's obvious. Mostly, it seems like a direct result of the "free love" and non-commital attitude of the seventies. Suddenly two lovers didn't have to make a lifelong commitment to eachother. When fights arose, there was no reason to stick around. Just break off and find someone else.
What I really don't get is why we haven't recovered from that by now. Why can't two people grow up and get along? Is it too much to ask that they put up with eachother's flaws? We have to put up with our friends' flaws. Our coworkers' flaws. Our boss's flaws. Why not our spouse?
Most of my friends whose parents have divorced respond, "Oh, it's no big deal" when I say something to the effect of, "I'm sorry to hear that." Is it so commonplace that even the kids don't take it seriously? Doesn't that perpare them to not take their future marriage seriously?
A friend of mine from college, Rose, has an older sister who's a single parent of three little kids. I can't remember whether the mom had actually married and divorced or whether she had just had the same boyfriend long enough to get pregnant three times. Regardless, she has a son and two daughters, whose ages were between three and seven. The little boy is the oldest of the three. Rose, due to the sucky dorm policies, lives with her older sister. Her sister decided that not only should Rose help cover the utilities in a house owned by their grandmother, but that Rose should also provide child support essentially free.
There wasn't much of a way around it. Rose wound up driving the kids to various things with almost no compensation for gas. She watched and cared for the kids when she was supposed to be doing homework. She even brought the kids to a few college picnics and whatnot, not only so she could go, but also to give the poor kids something to do. They were all pre-school age, so they didn't have anything to do during the week. Their mom was always at work, trying to support them. When she came home on evenings, she snapped at them about various things, demanded more help from Rose, and generally acted like a jerk.
The kids didn't benefit much from this. The youngest girl was rampantly troublesome. The middle girl cried if anything went wrong in the least. And the boy, more than anything, looked for a dad, or at least an older guy to hang out with. That guy turned out to be me on a couple occasions and a mutual friend of Rose's and mine on others.
Along with the chaotic atmosphere of the house that arises when there's never a parent home, there were a few other signs of neglect. Not neglect as in undernourished children who are never attended to. But small things like the middle girl's teeth. They were malformed. Badly. Rose said she thought it was from an antibiotic reaction, but it looked alot more like what happens when little kids are put to bed with bottles of milk to suck on all night. Not to mention that the kids WERE actually given sippy-cups of milk when they went to bed.
As I mentioned before, the mom was mostly just a jerk. She complained about everything, all the time. She snapped at the kids. She snapped at Rose. She seemed to cause more problems than she solved.
I know that not all single-parent homes are like this, but I still can't understand the positive side of divorce. How does it fix anything? How does it resolve marital conflicts? As far as I can tell, it doesn't. It just destroys the marriage, thereby preventing conflicts from becoming any more serious than normal legal issues between two parties. Is that how families are supposed to function?


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