Should children have a say in their parents' divorce?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am


Vanessa Wong Man-chi, 16, Diocesan Girls' School

Divorce is a delicate matter. It concerns every member of a family. And so children must be given a chance to have a say in their parents' divorce. Otherwise, they may feel helpless and unwanted by their parents. That could have disastrous effects on a child's development.

First, it is every parent's responsibility to treat their children's opinions as important. They must be given a say in such a vital matter as a divorce.

Parents must sit down and talk things over with their children before making crucial decisions.

If children are allowed to speak up, they will feel more valued and better understand why their parents have decided to separate.

Second, parents should let their children know that even after their divorce they will continue to love their kids.

If children feel unwanted or neglected, they may think their opinions do not matter to their parents. This will hinder their development and could cause problems later in life.

They may grow up lacking in self-esteem, and may even be hesitant to express their opinions as adults.

Proper communication within a family can also help resolve emotional issues that many children have about divorce.

A divorce is a time of turmoil and confusion, especially for young children.

Parents should strive to reduce children's sadness over their divorce. Otherwise, children may develop anger towards one or both parents or suffer from long-term emotional instability.

Therefore, for the sake of their children, parents must allow kids to have a say in their divorce.

Cathy Chan, 18, CCC Kei Chi Secondary School

Divorce rates in urban areas are skyrocketing. Some people suggest children should have a say in their parents' divorce. I doubt that would be an effective way to reduce the number of divorces.

The argument is that the parents' relationship has a huge effect on children. Therefore, children, too, should have a say in divorce-related decisions.

Let's face the facts. Children often don't even know the whole story. They often lack the maturity to understand relationship problems. It would be difficult for them to give practical advice or effective answers.

Some people argue that parents care about their children and so they may decide not to get divorced for their sakes.

Yet, in many cases, parents simply choose to hide their relationship problems from their children. On top of that, letting children decide whether their parents can divorce would be unfair to the parents.

When parents decide to divorce, they have good reasons for doing so. Forcing them to stay together may cause long-lasting hurt in a family.

Often, it's much better that they should go their separate ways. They can still continue taking care of their children that way.

Divorces and broken families are not something we want to see.

Nonetheless, we have to face the fact that some marriages simply cannot be saved - not even by the parents' love for their children.

But both parents should be required to take care of their children even after they have divorced. They should spare no effort to help their children stay healthy and happy.