I'm Divorced — But Don’t Tell Me My Child Is From A Broken Home

Even as a kid I knew it was better my own dad left.

mom holding young daughter Gladskikh Tatiana / Shutterstock

I’m watching the news and a young reporter uses the phrase "broken home." It’s an attempt to make the story more ominous.

I’m not sure what aggravates me more — this antiquated reference finding my ears, or the age of the girl using it. 

Certainly, her generation couldn’t know, let alone buy into this archaic concept.

RELATED: 9 Things Kids With Divorced Parents Desperately Want You To Know


You’ve heard of it.

It’s when a person is raised by one, (hold your breath), not two parents! Yes, I know it’s shocking! But it’s true. Some children, a fairly high number (hold your breath again) have experienced this phenomenon.

Divorce (cover your ears and hold your breath) is the sinister cause of the infamous "broken home."


The reporter reminds me of a comment my ex-husband made as I pleaded with him to stop his abusive financial antics and just divorce me.

"Stop," I say. "The children are not doing well."

"Of course, they’re not doing well," he says. "What do you expect? They’re from a broken home."

These are the words from a man who drank and behaved badly during what I initially believed was some sort of mid-life crisis.

The same guy refused to acknowledge the advice of a marriage counselor nor work at a failing marriage.

In my experience, it’s not uncommon to hear this phrase from people with my ex-husband’s worldview. Those who believe it’s better to remain unhappily married and hide your problems.


My boys wanted me to get a divorce.

They are not the children of a broken home.

They are the children of love.

A once beautiful love that suffered an unfortunate end.

Most people do not choose divorce.

RELATED: What It Feels Like For Your Child When You Divorce

It is the unfortunate by-product of exhausting all of our options.

You can’t control another human being. You can’t make them stop the behavior which is upsetting an entire home. You can’t force them to go to marriage counseling. You can’t keep them from cheating.

Whatever the bad behavior is, it is their choice. Not yours.

And sometimes marriages end for less nefarious reasons. Two people fall out of love, or no longer get along. That’s okay. Two parents are not a prerequisite for a happy home.


Love is a healthy love.

I was raised by a single mother who loved me enough for two parents.

I never once felt slighted.

On the contrary, I felt incredible gratitude for the parent who remained.

Even as a child, I was smart enough to know it was better without my dad there. His drinking was an addiction he would never overcome.

My mother didn’t send a negative message.

She didn’t say our home had broken. She loved me without limits, told me this was my path, and made me feel blessed.

I grew up confident and happy.

Fortunately, those who knew my mother never spoke that phrase either. They admired her strength, her resilience, her faith, and her bravery.


My children are not the result of a dysfunctional or broken home.

They, unfortunately, experienced a period of unhealthy behavior, which led their mother to make a difficult decision.

RELATED: How Divorce Can Sometimes Set A Good Example For Your Children About Love & Partnership

This does not dictate who they are, who they will be, or what they will achieve. It does not change their beauty, it shapes it.

They are not victims.

Their mother chose to get out of a bad situation that was no longer working.


I showed them we are not defined by the choices our young selves make. When we didn’t fully understand love or have the advantage of age and a larger sense of the world.

There are many who will embrace suffering in silence.

The ones who believe marriage is the preferred option.

Ironically, their children will be equally at risk of making unhealthy relationship choices.

Those of us who opt for divorce decide to throw out our dirty laundry, not live with it.

Divorce didn’t fracture my home.

It was already broken.

That’s why I left.

RELATED: To The People Who Think Divorced Parents Should've Stayed Together For The Kids

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.