Holidays through the lens of kids with split parents


Courtesy of Olivia Meshanko

Olivia Meshanko poses for a picture with her maternal family. She has had a split custody schedule since her parents got divorced when she was in sixth grade.

By Trevor Gardemal, Social Media Manager

In the 2010’s, 40% of marriages ended in divorce. In addition to this, 60% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages ended in divorce too. It can be difficult for children of divorce to navigate their families.

This is especially true for junior Ben Bellman, who faced a fair share of turmoil after his parents got divorced when he was in elementary school.

“I went from private school to public, I had to leave the church, we had to move and my parents were fighting a lot,” Ballman said.

The holidays can specifically be a time of stress for anyone but especially those with a complicated family. When it comes to making plans, children of divorce may have to deal with the schedules of each parent.

“Sometimes my parents split winter break so I’ll do something with my mom for half and then something with my dad for the other half,”  junior Olivia Meshanko said. “I get frustrated a lot because a lot of the times plans will change last minute and that can mess up my schedule.”

Ballman already has a complex schedule during the majority of the year, in which he spends half of each week with one parent and rotates weekends and Wednesdays. However, the complexity only increases over winter break.

“I’ll be with one parent on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until 12, and then I’ll switch to the other parent,” Ballman said. “If I travel, I’d travel with the parent that has me later in the day on Christmas.”

Sophomore Briana Hickey, who sees her father about once a month, faces similar issues. 

“My mom’s side lives in North Carolina while my dad’s side lives in Maryland,”Hickey said. “That usually causes some conflict between them, as they both want me and my brother to spend time with their families.”

However, Hickey believes most of the turmoil she feels during this time of year is unrelated to her family situation. 

“Stress with the holidays is something I’ve dealt with for almost my entire life, but that’s mostly unrelated to anything with my parents,” Hickey said.

Ballman agrees that even with the specific conflicts children of divorce face, they can relate to their peers with married parents.

“It’s like any other family, just a bit more complex,” Ballman said.

Five years after her parents’ separation, Meshanko has accepted that this turmoil is just part of her life now. 

“It sucked at first like a lot but I got used to it over time, ”Meshanko said. “It’s important to look for silver linings because ultimately it’s brings more people who love you into your life.”

Ballman also recognizes and accepts his divided life. He sees that the divorce of his parents was a necessary change and that it has brought growth to his life.

“When I was younger it was really hard for me,” Ballman said. “But now it’s definitely for the better. Both my parents remarried and it’s nice to see them really happy. I love all my step family.”