Stable marriages vital to raise secure children

A recent opinion piece addressed a pertinent national concern by suggesting that cohabitation and relaxing divorce laws might raise marriage rates (Marriage, families under stress as norms change; May 17).

While I agree that tackling the "kiasu" culture would create a more conducive environment for family formation, I am unable to reconcile myself to these policy recommendations.

Having been raised in a single-parent family and not sharing a personal relationship with my father till I turned 16, I must state that my parents' divorce has resulted in multidimensional and lifelong effects on me.

One's family of origin has a profound impact on self-identity and subsequent family formation. Growing up, I perceived relationships as transactional and transient.

I challenged figures of authority and undermined commitment in relationships as I did not trust that others would have my best interests at heart.

I lived recklessly as I did not feel a need to be accountable. A deep sense of insecurity bred within me and I questioned the meaning of marriage and family.

The authors alluded to inclusive family policies in European countries resulting in higher fertility rates, yet failed to mention the irreversible impact on children and high costs to society.

A 2013 report by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank described over three million children in Britain being raised by single parents, with one in three lacking a father's involvement.

Unstable families are a common factor in most teen delinquency and social issues facing Britain today. Moreover, family breakdown costs the British government a significant portion of its annual Budget. These point towards an inherent value in the permanence of marriage.

Let's make Singapore strong by preserving and promoting stable lifelong marriages where couples are equipped to cultivate their relationship and resolve conflicts. This provides the most conducive environment for generations to grow up secure in their identity.

Ng Wan-Yi (Ms)

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