Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have no one to talk to about what is going on in my heart.  No one can understand the terrible things that I think about when I go to sleep at night. It is terrible to be a child whose parents are divorcing and constantly fighting about everything – including their children.


I turned thirteen just last week and, being the oldest sister, I can understand better what is happening now and what is going to happen to us.  My younger brothers and sister don’t really understand that we won’t be together anymore, that we will spend some time with Totty and some time with Mommy and not always at the same time, because the baby is only one year old. My ten-year-old brother is terrified and has started to wet his bed again, after not doing it for three years. He wakes me in the morning to help him change his sheets, but with school starting I won’t be able to do that anymore.

I love my brothers and baby sister and I am afraid we will be separated, with some of us going to Mommy and some to Totty.

No one listens to me, not even the lady from the court who asked me lots of questions about how Totty and Mommy treat us, how they treat each other, if I’m afraid of either or both of them and what I would like to see happen.  For a while, I thought she really cared about what I said and understood how I felt, but then Mommy came home crying and saying that what I said made things worse for her and that we may not be together again.  After that day, I did not talk to anyone who said they were from the court, I didn’t care whose side they said they were on, I don’t trust anyone anymore.

I sometimes wish that if I go to sleep, maybe I won’t wake up in the morning, just like Bubbie Bayla, and I wouldn’t have to care anymore.  But then I think of my brothers and the baby, who will care for them?  Who will hug them when they wake up in the middle of the night, wet, scared and crying?  Since Mommy and Totty told us that they were getting a divorce, the kids have been coming to me to comfort them when they aren’t around or Mommy just didn’t hear them crying in the night because she was so tired.

Why do parents have to fight all the time?  When we kids used to fight, Mommy always said we should talk through our differences, because people who love each other can always find a ways to solve their problems.  Totty also taught us to be good to each other and that there was nothing stronger or more important than family.  They lied to us!  They didn’t listen to their own rules!  Everyone says that children have to listen to their parents because they know what’s right.  No they don’t!  They don’t love us at all.  How could they when all they do is hurt us?  Sometimes I wish I were an orphan with no parents to listen to.

Do you get other kids who write to you about the same thing?  Or am I the only one whose life is so miserable?  The way I got your e-mail address is when I went into my mother’s room, but she wasn’t there.  But you were, in the articles she cut out and had on her night table.

Is there anything I can do so that my parents stop hating each other?  Is there any way to show them what their selfishness is doing to five children who did not ask to be born and have no say about the life they will live?  Please help us.



Dearest Little One,

I read your letter many times and each time my heart ached more.  You are an amazing young girl, far wiser than her years, more responsible than the adults in her life. I see a young woman with character and tenacity and believe that in the not-too-distant future you will be a role model to all those who are privileged to know you.

Sadly, you are not the only child so deeply affected by the divorce of her parents, nor, I dare say, will you be the last.  In the many years I have worked with families in divorce, there have been many letters, but none as poignantly written.  It brought home the absolute sense of devastation and helplessness a child feels, the low self-esteem, guilt, loneliness, and, worst of all, the loss of trust in everyone.  You have painted a picture of such brilliant sadness and futility that it should be required reading for all parents who think that their own issues take precedence over those of their children.

Your parents have taught you well about love and caring and working through differences, even though they aren’t the perfect examples of their teachings. Please don’t blame them for falling off their game and being tough on each other; love is sometimes drowned out by mitigating circumstances like parnassah issues, pressures at work, and many other things children don’t see or understand at such an early age. Of one thing I am sure, that your parents love all of you beyond words, but are too wrapped up in their own grief and failures to see what it’s doing to their children.

As to how I can help your parents see what great kids they have and what a terrible loss all of you will suffer if they don’t at least try to work on the marriage before they end it, well, you’ve already done that for yourself by writing this letter.  If your mother reads this, as it seems likely she will, there is no doubt in my mind that your words will open both her eyes and her heart.  Your own words are better than any I or any professional could offer they sear the soul and pierce the heart.

You are a very special thirteen-year-old, headed for great things and doing wondrous works of chesed in helping others, and I thank you for trusting me with your story.  In doing so, you may well have helped yourself, as well as other children and young people who have no significant voice in divorce or the means to make their elders see what a devastating impact it makes on them.  Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you’re doing.  I care, deeply.   

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