Divorce is frequently considered a significant life event. Statistics show that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end up in divorce while succeeding unions have even higher chances of separation. It can affect not only the couples but most especially the children. Many children are deeply affected by the separation of their parents and its aftermath which can lead to different mental illnesses and suicidal tendencies individually if the divorce and custody were viewed as battles with winners and losers. Also, the effects of the divorce might be colossal if one or both parents are bitter and decides that removing the other parent from the child as a form of punishment.
Parentectomy is the removal or diminution of a responsible and caring parent from the child’s life after a separation or divorce. Parentectomy can range from partial removal probably just seeing the other parent for a few days in a month or completely removing the parent from the child’s life which is also known as Parental Alienation Syndrome. “Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent,” says Richard Gardner, M.D.
Effects of Parentectomy
The ultimate victims of parentectomy are the children. Experts call Parentectomy as one of the gross violations of children’s right carried out by human adults. Usually, the victim parent walks away from the children, not because of lack of love and concern but because of weariness from constant battles, loss of finances due to custody lawsuits, emotional depletion and ultimately sacrificing to give their child peace and environment of stability. This leaves the child feeling abandoned and unloved by the victim parent; on the other hand, the parent may feel ambivalent, confused and hopeless about the situation.
Another consequence of parentectomy is removing the opportunity from a child to experience giving love and reciprocally receiving love from a parent. This life event puts these children in a high-risk category for depression. In fact, studies show that there’s a higher correlation between suicidal ideations in adolescents and a divorce in their formative years resulting in the removal of one parent. “We see kids struggle more if their parents are struggling to figure out how to co-parent and what that’s going to look like,” says Stephanie Samar, PsyD.
Children who experience parentectomies will easily mistrust and usually unsuccessful in adult intimate relationships due to their previous relationship model. One, they view things as good or bad, right or wrong and cannot discern the grey areas. Second, their relationship models are often not stellar and based on mutual accusations and defensiveness rather than tolerance, respect, and acceptance. Research also shows that children in this circumstance may run away from home or rebel against the favored parent later in life maybe upon the realization that as a child they were brainwashed because of the angry, bitter and disturbed parent to hate the other parent. Amy Baker, PhD, explains, “children who have been maltreated are typically quite reluctant to talk about and to admit that was a parent who harmed them. Even once they admit the maltreatment, they are still typically reluctant to reject that parent, often blaming themselves for the abuse instead.”
In deciding to divorce, couples need to make the transition as seamless as possible to the child. It is challenging to interact and communicate with an ex-husband/wife without resentment most especially if the marriage was dissolved due to painful causes such as third-party involvement and cheating. Make an effort to take in consideration possible arrangement of the child and always allow him/her to have a relationship with the other parent. The divorce is between husband and wife and not between a parent and a child.