“Dear Mom & Dad” was written by Monica Epperson, founder of The Child of Divorce. Monica experienced five divorces during her childhood and started The Child of Divorce to provide resources to children who are experiencing hurtful ramifications due to divorce.
Dear mom and dad,
I know that you are hurting. I am hurting, too.
I feel and feed off your tension, fear and shock. Although I am young and cannot express verbally what is happening in our lives, I am still feeling the impact. My heart is broken every time I have to give up a parent. My sense of security is lost.
Please don’t assume I am resilient. Please don’t assume that my life will be exactly as it was and that I will continue to feel the same love from both of you. I am a human being just like you. My needs are just like yours. I need love, attention, nurturing, stability, consistency, affection, understanding, patience, and mostly to be wanted.
When you fight over me or put me in the middle of your argument you are sending me the message that winning with each other is more important than my life. I am learning from you that it is better to be right than to be loved. You are teaching me that I came from a person who is unlovable and wrong and that I am somehow wrong, too.
When you confide your hurt in my heart you are storing up adult pain and robbing me of my childhood. You are taking away my belief that love is unconditional and replacing it with a message that tells me to become hard and not to love because I will get hurt and not be able to recover. You may not understand this today and I am so small you are not thinking about my future, but you are putting me at a greater risk of getting a divorce myself.
At times you are risking my safety to fill a void in your heart. My safety is your job.
Without you and your protection I am unshielded from the world. This will manifest in irrational fears for me because I will stay in a state of fight or flight for most of my life.
Someday this initial shock will wear off, but how you choose to parent me through this crisis will never wear off. I will either feel your sense of selflessness, support, protection or I will have a scar on my heart with a message that reads, “Good things happen to good people…I must be bad.”
the child of divorce