family disintegration

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_UNKNOWN321, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. B_UNKNOWN321

    B_UNKNOWN321 New Member

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    I had thought that I would introduce myself after having been here for some time and tell everyone how wonderfully I feel about being a member here, but something happened at the gym yesterday that was so disturbing that I wanted to share and see how you feel.

    A few years ago I went to two debutante balls, high society fluff but the thing that got my attention was the introduction of parents with the young wealthy ladies. I wrote down some facts and discovered that on both occasions 80% of them had either one parent or more than two and many carried no final name matching any of the parents. One young lady was accompanied by eight parents, birth mother and father, remarried spouses of each, adoptive parents and remarried spouses of them also. I couldn't help but wonder how any young person could develop properly from such absurd assemblages of people. I coming from a high school class of 286 where every single student graduated with two parents and they were same they had in first grade was crushed to think how little most must value a stable family to raise children in.

    But the most devastating revelation of rootless children occurred yesterday when I was sitting at gym waiting for some of the equipment to become available and I struck up conversation with 10-year old boy who had hoped to work out but was not old enough. Then he told me why he was living with his grandfather, his mother had shot his father, then had several children by different men, was about to bear one by a shack-up boyfriend this week, was in and out of drug rehab, boyfriend was married to another woman who refused to give him a divorce and she herself had killed three previous husbands but got off each murder rap and had burned down the house where this boy's mother lived hoping to kill her. I could not even blink listening to these tales of unmitigated horror and he could tell how upset I was and told me it was okay, most of his friends had parents more messed up than his (the grandfather overheard some of it and told me there were worse facts that the boy did not know about).

    I hope I never again will turn a deaf ear to any of the young guys on here who begin to tell their tales of woe and be so dismissive as if to say "Who gives a shit". I wonder if any of you typically ever encounter such cesspool excuses of families that young men must be raised in and have you been able to help any of them.

    I will save the introduction for another day when I get over this distressed state I feel for that little boy.
     
  2. B_Jeremy

    B_Jeremy New Member

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    Whoa.. that's some pretty heavy stuff :( Certainly hope things work out better for that young boy. Perhaps I am a little spoiled by my friendship and closeness with my mom, but it's hard to imagine how people can survive such trauma :( My best wishes go to that young boy, and certainly to anyone else who may be in dire need of some help!
     
  3. Ineligible

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    That's indeed very heavy. People without stability growing up tend to carry that insecurity with them into their adult lives. Nothing can be counted on, nothing trusted . . .

    I knew someone whose mother moved area every six months for economic reasons. Everytime his friendships were disrupted, until he stopped making them. :(
     
  4. Dr Rock

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    that's not insecurity; it's just common sense.
     
  5. absinthium

    absinthium New Member

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    It sounds to me like you are judging a bit harshly. Certainly the young man you spoke to was not living in favorable conditions. That doesn't mean that all families where the parents have been divorced and remarried are hopeless situations...
    My mother and my father were divorced when I was 2 (I believe) and they've always had joint custody, so I chose who I lived with at any given time. They've both remarried a few times. Some of the most blissful time of my life was when I lived with my mother and her now ex-husband. I was treated very well by her ex, and shown a lot of the finer things in life that I might not have gotten a chance to know about without that family having been put together. It didn't last forever, but I value the time that I spent there, and look back on it with great fondness.
    Life is full of ups and downs. My entire life has not been constantly idyllic, but that's not what life is about. You have to learn to deal with hardship and not be sheltered from it. I feel I have a very realistic outlook on life and set of expectations, and I know it's because I've had to adapt to a lot of different situations.
    To write off every family that doesn't consist of the typical nuclear setting of two married parents raising a child together is unfair. There were many years when I lived with my primarily with mother or my father when they were single, and I didn't ever want for anything. They still loved me dearly and took very good care of me. I did well in school and turned out to be someone with a great amount of confidence.
    So I hope that you don't believe that every child that comes from a divorced family is in some way deficient. If my parents had stayed together despite their misery, I have no idea how my life would have turned out, but I have a very strong feeling it could have been a lot worse than the alternative.
     
  6. madame_zora

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    Julianna, you never cease to just blow me away! I am so very proud of you and the fine person you've become. Take the credit yourself, Dad and I did what we could but you were always the best of both of us. I told you from pretty early on that you were smarter than both your parents, and now I get to say it- I told you so!
     
  7. viking

    viking New Member

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    Cheers Juliana.

    I too had an untraditional upbringing. My mother spent much of her life raising 4 childern on her own. We had a stepfather who was on the road most of the time. He finally stopped coming back. My mothers curent husband is more of a Father than I've ever known. My life would be lessened if he had not married my mom. As well, I see my mother happier than she's ever been. They have been together for 20 years.

    Family is not always what you think it is. Understanding that the relationship that you have with someone is the most important aspect of family, is not something that comes easily. Sometimes, you learn that from someone who comes into your life when you least expect it.
     
  8. VinceNYC

    VinceNYC New Member

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    Well, let's see. Are you referring to the cesspool of families who have been divorced and remarried or the ones who kill people? I'm being a wiseass here to point out that your combination of diatribe #1, regarding divorce and re-marriage, with diatribe #2, regarding a very bad family situation, was unwise because it appears you are lumping both things together and giving them equal weight.

    I'm going to assume you meant them as two separate issues; one which annoys you and one which breaks your heart. Let's start with the annoying.

    Just because YOU don't see value in what I'll term "atypical" family set-ups, does not mean that there is NO value. There are extremes of everything, but the person you referred to who was obviously adopted and eventually reunited with her parents (who apparently were each married to others) sounds like a success story to me!! How beautiful is that?

    Her parents were probably young and considered abortion. Instead they gave the gift of life to people who may not have been able to have kids. And now all of them share their lives!! That's amazing. Get over yourself. The world doesn't revolve around you.

    Now, as far as the child growing up in a terrible situation with parents who are most likely mentally ill, that's a different story--and a very unusual one. Don't extrapolate that horrible story to all of society. Sure, there are issues with families and what people consider good family set-ups, but come on!! Things just aren't that bad in the world! I would suggest becoming a Big Brother or donating your time and/or money if you can to help these poor kids who grow up with crappy parents.
     
  9. madame_zora

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    Well, I can say I've run into the kind of situation the original post was about tho, where a young person tells you so many horrific things about their life that you just want to wretch. Since children are minors, there's not a lot you can do in the eyes of the law, you quickly understand that you can't adopt every child who has a very tough life because there are just so many of them. What you can do is keep your doors and hearts open to the ones you come in comtact with, especially if you'll have enough opportunity to spend time with them that you may be able to provide a breath of fresh air. Sometimes a break is all you can give them, but you might be surprised just how appreciated it is. Julianna had several friends and acquaintances who came from tough family situations, for some reason she knew several people who lived with parents who were borderline insane. These kinds of parents don't just dump love into their children! Insanity at the very least almost nullifies a person's ability to see the needs of others.
    Of course, then there were some who were just extremely selfish or never bothered to finish growing up after they left high school themselves. I can't recall meeting one teenager out of the many who came over who had a comfortable or happy homelife. They needed to talk about things a parent should talk to their kids about, things like drugs, sex, pregnancy, love. They also just need to know all adults aren't out to get them! I got eager about the younger generation from the time I spent with those young people when she was living at home. They hold the weight of the future in their hands, it's not optional for me to care or not care about them.

    Talk to them, their voices need to be heard, they need to believe in themselves, or at least the possibility that they may be a valuable human being. Talk to everyone for that matter, we are all so lonely and disconnected. It may very well be that the very thing you lack is what you are best at giving away! Weird as it is, usually what you want most is something you are good at doing for others because your subconscious mind recognises what going without that thing has done to you.

    I have many times in my life been reminded years later of a brief conversation I had with someone I barely knew that they said was meaningful to them in some way. Likewise I fequently remember a snippet some stranger said to me that had impact on my life in some way. Some of the people who have meant a lot to me were people I only knew for a brief time (Clay who took me in when I was homeless). I think often times we give up too soon. We think "What can I do? What impact can I have?" and we get overwhelmed and give up before we try.

    To be honest, more often than not, you will have no impact at all, or even worse, someone with a horrific home life will attatch themselves to you and demand more from you than you could ever provide- it's not their fault, they haven't formed the ability to accept proper boundaries. Nor does their life afford them the opportunity to not panic! A drowning victim will often beat the living shit out of a potential rescuer because his will to live supercedes his reasoning capacity. Many times in my life I have felt the sting of having to withdraw from such a relationship because it was unhealthy for ME, but that was part of my own maturation process. Overall, I'm glad I learned to be open, I get so much more out of life talking to people. A good day can consist of an interesting conversation with some street kid at the gas station who wants nothing more than to talk about his comic book collection. Give a little time and effort, you'll be happy with yourself twenty years from now.
     
  10. DC_DEEP

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    There are 4 types of people in the context of this thread:
    Good family, and they turn out well.
    Good family, and they turn out badly.
    Horrible family, and they turn out well.
    Horrible family, and they turn out badly.

    Which of these four deserves the highest honors and respect? Which deserves the least?

    It sounds like the little fellow you spoke to was adjusting pretty well in a terribly adverse environment. Let's just hope that the grandfather continues to be a nurturing influence, and that the child chooses the path toward being an exceptional human.

    Most who turn out badly tend to have the victim world view. I have personally know people with less than desireable family life, but not nearly as bad as you describe, turn out to be not-so-great adults, and blame everything bad in their lives on their parents, then their teachers, then their employers & coworkers. I have also know people come from the most awful, broken, drug-ridden, abusive homes you could imagine, but turn themselves into incredibly wonderful adults.

    It is sad, so many of these people who end up being parents should have been drowned when they were pups, but they grow up to pop out 10 babies by 10 different partners. Ah, if only we had a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. Oh, wait, that's in the works, isn't it?

    I'm not against "alternative family configurations", in fact, I support them fully. What I am against is bad parenting.
     
  11. jonb

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    As far as "alternative family configurations" go, like 3% of Americans actually live in the "traditional" nuclear family.
     
  12. Knight

    Knight New Member

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    Well I've only ever seen my dad a few times. At first I was told my dad was dead and this dead man was not my real father. His last name was also on my birth certificate, which I paid to have changed to the family name that everyone else has...

    One time this lad (sort of a 'friend' but...) and I were arguing and he said 'I'm not surprised your dad killed himself, you're ugly as sin' or somethin like that. The insinuation or actual comment was that I was so ugly someone killed themselves. Now at the time, I believe this man to be my father and got upset (btw my mum said the man hanged himself when actually he had a heart attack because he was a druggie).

    When I was 16 she told me who my father was. However, I had been told about a year ago by my mum's then-bf who was a good friend of my real father's. He was a very great guy because of that, and we bonded a lot. Even though he was very angry at times and hit me a few times (with belts lol). But as we got to know each other and I stopped misbehavin or bein cheeky of course he stopped hitting me lol.

    Anyway I was grateful that he told me, and didn't know how to react when he told me so we just sat drinkin beer and talkin the rest of the night. My real father is a ladies man, has remarried and has two kids now. So if people ask me who my dad is I just say he's not around or something rather than name him (everyone knows everyone around here, relatives of my dad are some of my relatives lol its sooo fucked up :p).

    Anyway my situation is pretty complex and I hate explaining it not because I'm upset or ashamed or embarrassed just because its quite tedious and people tend to not take it seriously and most don't need to know. As for how its affected me lol I don't think it has that much really, I mean things could be worse. Things are actually pretty great at the moment. The only thing I probably miss is the father-son relationship it looks pretty nifty lol.

    As for other people. Most kids around here, my friends and friends of friends are from single parent families, usually with the father gone. So usually no questions are asked cos we're all in the same boat. Most of those guys though it has fucked up, well that and of course other factors. Almost everyone is on drugs and has run-ins with the law. One of my old friends who I haven't seen for a few years is 18, and has a kid already and another on the way. Two other mates are also fathers at 19 with the mothers of those babies being 16 and 17.

    LOL wow this is a long post...I was just pointing out that usually the 'Sins of the fathers' do repeat. I was scared I'd be having a kid with a girl who was 16 too lol but luckily I didn't. For a long time I was wondering if I'd turn out like my dad...I haven't lol I realised I'm my own person ;)

    The only time coming from a single parent family has negative effects is when ignorant, usually upper class or at least better off people turn their noses up. Pisses me off when people do that since you can't choose where you live or who your parents are. A lot of the people I know from the richer areas are heavy drug users...which upsets their parents because of course rich kids are expected to be perfect. Apart from that though it doesn't really have much of an impact at least for me.
     
  13. absinthium

    absinthium New Member

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    You're so right!
    I've found many times that the people I've been closest to and who have touched my life the most are not people who are blood relations... I've always thought of family as being who you choose to spend your time with. Sometimes people drift in and out of your life, but that doesn't mean they aren't important, or you can't learn wonderful things about being human from them.
     
  14. Pene_Negro_Grande

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    My parents were divorced when I was really young but still think I turned out kind of together but I have known many folks w/very similar stories...Definitely areas of low income can have some of the most heart wrenching stories...Always have had a compassionate nature for any child in any bad home life...Stuff that they go through can have all kinds of psychological effects in their life...
     
  15. B_UNKNOWN321

    B_UNKNOWN321 New Member

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    Well, let's see. Are you referring to the cesspool of families who have been divorced and remarried or the ones who kill people? I'm being a wiseass here to point out that your combination of diatribe #1, regarding divorce and re-marriage, with diatribe #2, regarding a very bad family situation, was unwise because it appears you are lumping both things together and giving them equal weight.

    I'm going to assume you meant them as two separate issues; one which annoys you and one which breaks your heart. Let's start with the annoying.

    Just because YOU don't see value in what I'll term "atypical" family set-ups, does not mean that there is NO value. There are extremes of everything, but the person you referred to who was obviously adopted and eventually reunited with her parents (who apparently were each married to others) sounds like a success story to me!! How beautiful is that?

    If you are referring to the girl with 8 parents as having not such a bad situation then I can add more since one of her step brothers worked for me for several years. All the other brothers from these marriages are in prison or have killed themselves. One just recently hung himself after going through four divorces and 7 children among the wives. The one who worked for me constantly told me of his deep fear of marriage because of the sorry marriages of his eight parents. Also I have read of clinical studies published in Science, the most prestigious scientific journal that children of even amicable divorces suffer tremendous psychological trauma even till very late in life, guilt, resentment, all very destructive feelings. It was formerly thought that children of divorce can copy very well and develop strength through this adversity, the facts dispute this almost conclusively. Divorce is known to a be a life-long disabling burden no matter what sort of happy face the innocent children victims may muster up. So scientific studies indicate that divorce adds nothing really positive to a child's sense of self worth or esteem which is tragic in itself which was what bothered me years ago seeing such high rates of divorce and raising two nephews that came from divorces. This feeling of deep regret for all these children only mushroomed to find that there are even infinitely worse family tragedies that victimize children and it is not so very rare.

    Her parents were probably young and considered abortion. Instead they gave the gift of life to people who may not have been able to have kids. And now all of them share their lives!! That's amazing. Get over yourself. The world doesn't revolve around you.

    Now, as far as the child growing up in a terrible situation with parents who are most likely mentally ill, that's a different story--and a very unusual one. Don't extrapolate that horrible story to all of society. Sure, there are issues with families and what people consider good family set-ups, but come on!! Things just aren't that bad in the world! I would suggest becoming a Big Brother or donating your time and/or money if you can to help these poor kids who grow up with crappy parents.
    [post=325082]Quoted post[/post]​
    [/b][/quote]
     
  16. BruceSter

    BruceSter New Member

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    Hi there,

    I think character development has a lot to do with the ability of raising yourself, in families as described in the original post of this thread. If the parents themselves are as unstable characters as described, they surely won't do the kid any good, if the kid him/herself isn't able to recognize the parents' behavior as not trustworthy and not exemplary. On the other hand, if the kid takes his (bad behaving) parents as examples for his/her own actions without questioning, that will bring him/her off the right track.

    Then again, it's judgemental to just put every family that doesn't follow the AFA ideal into the unable-to-raise box. From my own case, I can't at all say (maybe others disagree, but who cares) that being raised without my mother has had bad effects on me. Okay, for some time, I showed a pretty rough behavior, but I never went off tracks really - maybe because my dad knew how to hold my reigns, not too tight, but tight enough to make me feel where the absolute borders are. Maybe if he had been a weaker man, raising me would have been a difficult task, but that's an option I prefer to exclude.

    I also know a girl who had a very untraditional background herself, the subject of a few posts of mine on here, Corrine. She was also raised by her Dad, after her mom had taken a powder shortly after birth. Her acting and mannerisms were in some ways even worse than mine (just in few, though) - she has always had problems obeying rules, and constantly did things that were on the darker end of the black/white scale. Not that her Dad was a weak guy, he didn't hold any reigns over her. But still, her character didn't go completely haywire, she just had her own way of picking rules she wanted to follow and didn't want to follow. She could care for those who cared for her - and was pretty thoughtful about that - but the rest was just ignored.

    I'll stay with my conclusion... your ability to raise yourself is an important factor when it comes to character development, especially in a difficult environment as described in the original post. Thanks for lending your ears (eyes) to a layman on this field.

    Bruce
     
  17. jonb

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    The AFA isn't concerned about parenting skills, Bruce. Just about whether or not you fit their "man works, woman's barefoot and pregnant" ideal.
     
  18. BruceSter

    BruceSter New Member

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    If you had fine-tuned your antenna to my sarcastic undertones, you'd have gotten that one. Hell, do you think I'm not able to (mentally) trash people who finance and publish "scientific" studies proving that homosexuality shortens your life expectation by 20 years?

    However, that wasn't the point I was trying to make.

    Bruce
     
  19. steve319

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    Regardless of what television and various action groups tell us, the idea of the “traditional family” is a myth, at least from the historical perspective (interesting article HERE). If children are made to feel badly about living in a non-traditional family, then it’s because of the cruelty of our culture, not due to some inherent flaw in the family structure (not that I’m discounting the pain of kids in that situation). In my opinion, love is where you find it and doesn’t have to fit a set pattern for children to grow up well-adjusted, happy, and aware that they are loved (not saying it’s easy…).

    The problem is largely poor parenting, I think. While I’ve seen many, many situations where single parents were too overwhelmed by working two or more jobs and too many responsibilities or actively dealing with family/neighbors/others who were actively doing harm to the children, too many times it seems to be a case of damaged people raising another generation of damaged kids. (As I’ve said too many times, the wrong people are fertile.)

    I’ve worked in adult education for over a decade now, and I’ve seen so many unspeakably terrible situations as to find myself in doubt at times of the ability of humanity to turn things around. I have a student now whose mom has made her living through prostitution that has gone on in the home with both girls. To make matters worse, the younger girl is developmentally and physically disabled and is, according to the older daughter (my student) being farmed out for sexual favors by the mom. I have another student who is still willingly living in the home where he had suffered sexual abuse for years. And those are just from the current crop.

    On the other hand, I have another student who is clever, sharp-witted, and a gifted writer and who seems as well-balanced emotionally as anyone but who comes from a decidedly non-traditional family. But the difference is that her mom and “aunt” are caring, compassionate, and—yes, I’ll say it—well-educated people who have put their daughter’s needs above their own. (I’m sure there are others still who have come from horrible situations but who have managed to survive relatively unscathed against all odds—perhaps there were enough caring adults outside the home to help make the difference.)

    I totally see where you’re coming from motilssof (and I don’t think you were disparaging non-traditional families, really—from where I’m reading, you were concerned about unstable homes where the child may have no sense of security or stability). This kid has a rough road to follow. Let’s hope he has enough support from somewhere to help him overcome the ugliness.

    Someone say “It takes a village,” so I won’t have to, OK? ;)
     
  20. madame_zora

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    It takes a village!

    Anywhere there are caring and concerned adults to raise children, they have a chance. Somtimes, children can grow themselves up in spite of their parents, but more often some decent adult is needed for a child to recogise any hope in the world. I have seen just as many dysfunctional children coming from two-parent homes as from single ones, if the parents are both horrible, it can actually be worse.
     
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