In a divorce, emotional scars of children are hard to heal

The frailty of human nature and fragility of the relationships in their early years may be transposed into their adult lives, perpetuating a downward spiral of dysfunctional families.
The frailty of human nature and fragility of the relationships in their early years may be transposed into their adult lives, perpetuating a downward spiral of dysfunctional families. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Often, we hear parents saying they want the best for their children and citing the same reason when they go their separate ways (Reconciliation process needs to be included in family justice system, by Mrs Patricia Tan, April 20).

So, is this really for their children or for themselves?

It is strange that adults seem to care more for the physical well-being of their charges, like rushing them to the hospital when they have a persistent fever that refuses to go away, but appear to think nothing of the emotional havoc they could inflict on their children when they get divorced.

Emotional scars are hard to heal.

It is cruel to pitch one parent against the other to a child. Forcing a child to take sides, whatever the justification, is inhumane.

Spouses who demonise each other show a blatant disregard for the feelings of their child. This reflects not just the flaw of the demonised, but also that of the demoniser.

Children are great at adapting. They may cope differently, but they are no less hurt by the people who brought them into this world.

Hence, they may find it hard to trust in their adult lives.

The frailty of human nature and fragility of the relationships in their early years may be transposed into their adult lives, perpetuating a downward spiral of dysfunctional families.

The law takes a kind view of granting parental access to a child, but does nothing in filling the emotional void after weekend visitations.

While adults may move on many years after their failed marriages, their children still long to be loved.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2019, with the headline 'In a divorce, emotional scars of children are hard to heal'. Print Edition | Subscribe