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Invest more in helping kids in divorce cases

A posed picture to illustrate children who suffer the most when parents divorce.
A posed picture to illustrate children who suffer the most when parents divorce. PHOTO: ST FILE

While it is heartening that the Ministry of Social and Family Development is trying to protect children from acrimonious divorces, the parenting programme highlighted in the March 6 article ("Protecting children caught in divorce") seems to focus more on the parents rather than protecting the children.

While the programme's counselling session may help to resolve disagreements over co-parenting responsibilities, the chance of preventing the divorce is quite slim.

Thus, we should focus on helping the children involved in the divorce, through programmes tailored to help them adjust to their post-divorce environment.

This usually takes more than just good co-parenting plans on the part of their parents.

The programmes could include counselling sessions for the children, involving diagnosis and therapy, if necessary.

Although many children from divorced families will never show signs of severe psychopathology, a substantive body of research indicates that divorce does place children at an increased risk of different types of adjustment difficulties, such as delinquency, aggression, disobedience, depression and anxiety, poorer academic functioning and even cognitive deficits.

While we often seek to help children of lower socio-economic status because of the need to level up, the same can be said for children of divorced parents.

Carrying emotional and mental baggage into their formative or adolescent years is not a good way to start out in life.

In 2014 alone, there were 4,728 children under the age of 21 involved in divorce cases ("Getting to the heart of divorce"; March 6).

This number is not small and we should invest our resources in helping these children.

Let's save the children; this next generation is precious.

Charmayne Lim Shioh Bin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Invest more in helping kids in divorce cases'. Print Edition | Subscribe