Saturday, April 21, 2007

The problem with "custody"... that children often become objects that serve the pleasure of their parents. The child's right to a stable life is ignored in the interests of a parent's "right" to see the child.

What is lost in many situations is the moral obligation of both parents to provide what is needed for the child to grow into a healthy adult. This is not a problem just for Hollywood couples. This is a problem for many people in the "real world" as well. This is why so many kidnapping cases involve custody battles. Adults have their arguments and their temper tantrums, and force the children to carry the burden of their emotions. It is completely inappropriate to hurl invectives about your spouse to your child, whether you are getting divorced or not. The child can't do anything about it, and is only going to feel torn between her parents, and parents are supposed to be authority figures, not buddies who gossip with their children about their problems.

I think this would be a good time to revisit a controversial statement made by Garrison Keillor who, it seems, may have learned a practical lesson from his own failed marriages:

Monogamy put the parents in the background where they belong and we children were able to hold center stage. We didn't have to contend with troubled, angry parents demanding that life be richer and more rewarding for them. ...

Nature is about continuation of the species -- in other words, children. Nature does not care about the emotional well-being of older people.

The increasing burdens people are willing to place on their children for the sake of their own egos never cease to amaze me.

In my opinion, it is one of the results of the utilitiarian view of human life our culture has adopted. Our spouses, and our children all exist to serve ourselves, and are considered disposable. Spouses can be divorced, and children can be aborted when they are unwanted, or harshly punished when they embarrass us hurt our feelings. It's not about our feelings. It is about whether they are growing up to be respectable adults.

We expect them to be understanding when we tell them we're not in love any more and mommy or daddy will see them only on weekends. We may even expect them to be happy for us. We excuse it with "oh, kids bounce back," or "they'll understand if they love me".

Even to the point where we expect them to be understanding if we choose not to allow them to be born at all.

No comments: