When A Parent Gives Up Their Kids There's Only One Side To The Story

Kelly Clarkson's "American Idol" performance reminds us that after divorce, you are still a parent

If anyone still watches American Idol, or saw last week’s performance by Kelly Clarkson shared on social media, they witnessed one of the most gut wrenching performances I’ve ever seen on television. She debuted her new song, Piece by Piece, a direct shout out to her father who left her and her family when she was just six years old. While he’ll always be her father, he chose to no longer be her dad.

“And all I remember is your back. Walking towards the airport leaving us all in your past. I traveled 1500 miles to see you. Begged you to want me. But you didn't want to,” the sombre song began.

The lyrics alone are gut wrenching enough. But the performance on Idol that night left not a dry eye, as she choked back tears singing about the pain she felt after her father casting her aside like she didn’t matter. “Back then I didn't have anything you needed, so I was worthless,” she sang, almost out of breath. It was really tough to watch.

Seeing the impact a deadbeat parent who abandoned his kid got me in the gut and showed the world how even as an adult the repercussions of a parent’s selfish choice remain. Everyone who saw it, felt it.

You can say there are two sides every story when it comes to the demise of a marriage. But there is only one side of the story when it comes to children, and that is the child’s story.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck get it. Frankly, so do most parents who divorce. Their marriage might be over but their roles as parents most definitely isn’t, shouldn’t be and never will be.

Garner recently spoke to Vanity Fair about the demise of her marriage to Affleck and how vitally important effectively co-parenting their children remains to both of them.

“The main thing is these kids—and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them,” she shared.

“Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person.”

I’d like to think there are far more Bens and Jens out there than dads like Clarkson’s, but if my social media feed was any indication, the number of people who were personally affected by similar situations in their own lives were many. Far too many.

There seems to be an epidemic of parents who forget their children did nothing to deserve to be made to feel worthless, by being shown they are by the people who should value them most. Children are never ever worthless. By having kids, you are committing to loving and caring for said kids—it’s an unwritten pact you make when you decide to bring them into this world.

The only side to the story that should matter, that does matter, is the child’s. That’s it, that’s all. Making their life story one about abandonment is one no parent should force their child to live.

Clarkson’s lyrics were made so much more real by the performance she struggled to get through that night on American Idol. They aren’t just lyrics. They are her story. A story she has sworn to write a happy ending for.

“Piece by piece I fell far from the tree. I would never leave her like you left me,” Clarkson promises her own daughter. “She will never have to wonder her worth. Because unlike you I'm gonna put her first.”

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