What Makes a Home?

Broken Home.”  Does anyone know specifically where this phrase came from and why we use it to describe a divorce scenario?  Perhaps I should’ve googled it myself before I started typing, but I didn’t want to lose my enthusiasm.  Why does it not mean “house damaged by natural disaster”?

I don’t like the negative words we use when we talk about divorce and this might be one of the worst phrases.  Especially considering the fact that it’s used most often when describing the family situation of children.  What does it mean to a child to know he/she comes from a “broken home”?

And what does it mean to the rest of us?  I suppose it means “Mom and Dad don’t live together”.  Right?  So then, if Mom and Dad live apart and the kids travel between them for visitation…. doesn’t that mean the children in fact have TWO homes?  Two complete homes with beds and slippers and toys and pets and snacks and games?!  Two sets of appropriate holiday decorations?  Two sets of holiday gifts?  Waffles in one home and pancakes in another?

Am I wrong?  To me, 2 loving parents + 2 different households = 2 homes for the kids.  Sure, one might lack status.  One might be less clean.  One might contain second-hand furniture… but, if the children are welcome and loved, it’s a home!

Why the negativity when the plain fact isn’t so scary? The “broken home” terminology does a great disservice to all members of a divorced family.

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6 comments on “What Makes a Home?

  1. Heidi says:

    I have been reading your posts for a while now and your words have really helped me through a dark time. I totally agree with you about the “broken home” terminology. My kids although new at transitioning betwen two homes are already learning what it means to have two homes,two sets of rules, but most importantly two parents that love them and can keep it together for their benefit. such vital lessons for kids to learn in the face of divorce. It will never be perfect, but it certainly isn’t broken.

  2. April says:

    I think it’s meant to make us feel bad. People still really want to hold onto the fallacy that divorce is wrong, and if we dare to divorce when we have kids? Well, we “broke” them. I get personally offended when I’m asked, “wouldn’t it be better for the children if you’d stayed together?” It’s always said by people who are totally clueless about why I divorced him, but all the same, I’m offended that they would think I made the decision lightly.

    • I’m always amazed at how many people assume that divorce is the “easy way out”. Personally, I think it’s much better for the kids to have two homes than two severely unhappy parents under the same roof. When my own parents divorced, I was happy to see them happy with new partners instead of fighting every time they were in a room together.

  3. […] children of divorce, co-parents, divorce, family, single parent …Continuing on the topic of words I don’t like, the more I think about it, the more I don’t like the phrase “single parent”.  I […]

  4. […] children the trauma of a “broken home”?  In the past, I’ve written to say that I don’t believe in “broken homes” as they relate to divorce.  But I hadn’t thought of the phrase in relation to […]

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