The Student News Site of Taipei American School




The Collateral Damage of Divorce


“My parents have never been divorced. But today, I still live with the painful memory of them shouting at each other and threatening a divorce,” a senior told Blue and Gold.
The pain is still there for this student, who asked to remain anonymous. “Although I was just seven or so back then, I understood what divorce means,” he said.
“The thought of them getting a divorce, the thought of a broken, incomplete family always scared me. And every time they fought, I would just cry quietly to myself in bed, wishing that the next day, our family will still be the same family that stays happily together.”
In the United States, the crude divorce rate, or the number of divorces per 1,000 people in the population, was 3.4 in 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). This figure marks the lowest rate the U.S. since 2000. In Taiwan, the divorce rate has also experienced the same downward trend for the past eight years, from 2.8 in 2006 to 2.3 in 2013, according to the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
But TAS statistics tell a different story. According to the Admissions Office, the parental divorce rate has actually increased over the past three years.
“Divorce is always a stressful and life-changing event for families,” says SherriLee Grande, Middle and Upper School Psychologist. “The good news is that most kids are resilient and will eventually adjust to the emotional, financial, and relationship changes that divorce brings.”
Blue and Gold spoke to a number of students about their parents’ divorce and they agreed that they had survived an ordeal that was often confusing.
“Sometimes I asked myself why this happens to me…but things like that happen, and you can’t do much about it. So now, I’ve learnt to just accept what had happened,” says a junior. “I never cried at school because that would be weird. I used to cry at home, and I mostly cry when I saw my sister crying. But now, I don’t. It doesn’t really affect my emotions or performance at school anymore. Time heals.”
After his parents divorced when he was in 7th grade, he has been living with his dad because his dad was granted sole custody. Every day after school, he stays with his mom. Then around midnight, he will go back to his dad’s house to sleep.
Even though he is much closer to his mom than his dad, he never thought about running away. “That would be breaking the law, and my mom would be in trouble,” he says.
Another student, a sophomore, feels that his parents’ divorce was the best solution. “My parents got divorced when I was four I think, so it doesn’t really feel like a direct impact on my life since it’s always been that way…I don’t ever get sad or upset about it. My parents weren’t happy together, and in the end it was best for everyone.”
Has the experience changed his views on marriage? “I look at marriage a little differently. I mean, I wouldn’t mind getting married in the future, but I would be realistic and be aware that divorce does happen to even the most fairy tale relationships.”
Gracie S. (12) remembers a lot of the ugly details from her parents’ divorce She was very angry and held grudges against her parents for many years. For the first year or so after her parents divorced when she was in 4th grade, she and her sister used to move between her dad’s house and her mom’s house every week. They would actually pack a suitcase with clothes, shoes, and all their school textbooks that they needed for the upcoming week.
“It was not a happy time, obviously, and of course it impacted my life greatly,” says Gracie. “Although it was a very sad and challenging period for my entire family, I believe I gained a lot of maturity through my experience. Unfortunately and fortunately, I was forced to mature and deal with complicated and uncomfortable situations at a very young age.”
Gracie now lives with her dad and her stepmother in Taiwan. “In retrospect, however, I guess I am grateful for what my family went through because we are all much happier now and I am glad my little sister is growing up in a better, healthier environment,” she says.
Gracie says her parents are now much happier people. “I am a strong believer in everything happening for a reason, so for anyone who may be having an experience similar to mine, remember that everything will get better.”

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