Hi Dr. Laura -
My parents divorced when I was 5 years old, and I was "asked" at that age which parent I wanted to live with. Unfortunately "both" was not an answer.
I moved with my mother 2,000 miles away from my father. My mother suffered from depression and was not emotionally available. I was a latch-key kid and almost did not make it through 3rd grade. Before my 7th birthday I had already drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, been sexually molested, and exposed to porn.
When I moved back with my father at 8 years old, he had remarried. They were both alcoholics and I not only witnessed him beating his wife, but I was also physically abused by her and my stepbrother until I was 13 when I moved back with mom because they caught me drinking.
I had already been arrested, in juvenile hall and drug rehab before my 16th birthday. At 18, I decided I needed to change EVERYTHING or the next stop would be jail, or worse.
I IMPLORE people to be healthy before they marry. Then ensure they have a strong relationship BEFORE they have children, and to work hard at their marriage for their own sake and for the children's sake. I am a SURVIVOR, not a victim.
I married a wonderful man and we have a wonderful 6-year-old daughter. We both work from home and homeschool our daughter, who is on a swim team and has a blue belt in karate. I will get my black belt in karate next summer. We attend church regularly.
Our daughter will have the childhood I didn't have. I chose to break the cycle and be a strong example for my daughter. She will have pain at some point, but not what I had to endure. Thanks to YOU for helping me SO MUCH in making good choices!!