Give real-life input at parenting programme for divorcing couples

A recent report discussed some of the thoughtful measures the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Family Justice Courts (FJC) are taking or considering introducing to minimise the impact of divorce on children (Easing impact on children of couples who call it quits; Oct 14).

As MSF and FJC work together to help and rebuild broken families, that puzzle can be more accurately and meaningfully assembled if families who have actually gone through the process of a break-up are invited to the dialogue.

Only they can bring forth authentic insights.

Those who have not actually gone through a divorce can only articulate the pain and dilemma of the process and attempt to fix it from a theoretical point of view.

Additionally, it takes a village to raise a child.

It is very important for the extended family, from grandparents to uncles and aunties, to know how they can best support a child from a divorced family.

For example, posing intrusive, tactless and inappropriate questions toa child serves only to magnify his pain and confusion.

The child's school is another important channel of support.

The child's school is another important channel of support... In talking about families in the classroom, teachers could use the opportunity to explain that not all families are traditional; some are nuclear, some are blended, some are single-parent and so on.

For example, is the curriculum structured with the approach that all children come from traditional families?

In talking about families in the classroom, teachers could use the opportunity to explain that not all families are traditional; some are nuclear, some are blended, some are single-parent and so on.

The key is to highlight that just because a child's father and mother do not reside together, it does not mean that the child is loved any less.

It is this kind of reinforced multidisciplinary support that will mitigate the impact of a divorce on a child.

As for the parents, the onus is on them to adopt a child-centric parenting plan.

Thankfully, with support from MSF and FJC, parents are not alone in working through their problems to best advance their child's interests.

Lily Ong (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'Give real-life input at parenting programme for divorcing couples'. Print Edition | Subscribe