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Children Are Hostages Of Divorce. Part 1 - Society
Children Are Hostages Of Divorce. Part 1 - Society

Video: Children Are Hostages Of Divorce. Part 1 - Society

Video: Children Are Hostages Of Divorce. Part 1 - Society
Video: Children Of Divorce Reveal Their Secret Thoughts | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network 2023, December

Until recently, divorce was perceived as something out of the ordinary, destroying all conceivable moral foundations. Today they have become completely commonplace - the spouses disperse in search of new opportunities and a new life. But if children had time to appear in the marriage, everything becomes much more complicated

According to statistics, in Russia, for every 100 contracted marriages, there are on average 63.7 divorces 1 - that is, the likelihood that a husband and wife will live with each other to a ripe old age, frankly speaking, is low. Psychologists emphasize: no matter how easy or difficult this decision is, divorce almost always means stress for both spouses 2. However, the most vulnerable in this situation are, as a rule, children, who practically cannot influence the actions of adults 3.

Fight for children

In the post-Soviet space, it is generally accepted that the courts "by default" leave children with their mothers. This argument is often even cited as an argument regarding the existence of discrimination against fathers 4. Indeed, the statistics of court cases confirm that the overwhelming majority of children after their parents' divorce remain with their mothers 5. It turns out that the judges are really biased?

See also: Children are hostages of divorce. Part 2

As always, the devil is in the details. The fact is that in the vast majority of these cases, fathers simply did not declare their intention to raise a child. If we consider the cases in which men claimed to determine the place of residence, the ratio turns out to be completely different: in 59% of cases, the children remained with the father and only in 40% - with the mother (1% accounted for decisions in which children were divided between parents) 6

But that's not all. The postulate “children are a woman’s business” is so firmly embedded in the public consciousness that even in the case of the official residence of the child with the father, the routine (and, as a rule, unpaid) work of caring for and providing everyday life with the child often falls on the shoulders of the woman - the stepmother, grandmother, compassionate friend or even the children themselves (especially if it is a daughter).

So, in the recent sensational story with the poverty-stricken single father 7 Vadim Ivanov, "inconspicuous" female figures peep here and there: the head of the library helps older children with their lessons and at the same time looks after the younger ones, and here the eight-year-old daughter complains of fatigue from housework: still, she is responsible for the kitchen and cleaning the whole house. In another story - actually Aminat Mahmudova, a citizen of Estonia, tried unsuccessfully to take the two sons of illegally retaining their father - the boys live with his grandmother and aunts, while my father for months solves operational issues in another city 8.

It turns out, whatever one may say, bad. If one of the parents actually refuses to raise children, throwing this responsibility completely on the ex-spouse or even on strangers, the child almost inevitably has a feeling of being unnecessary, “abandoned” by a person who, according to existing moral standards, should be one of the closest.

The consequences can be the most dire: from neurotic reactions to anxiety-depressive disorders. Their prevention and correction adds another heavy burden to the already difficult burden of a parent who has taken on the burden of responsibility for the little person. In addition, the sad statistics of alimony arrears 9 suggests that the standard of living of a parent raising one or several children alone is likely to sag strongly, which means that there will be a need to “disappear” at work and part-time jobs, which will only aggravate the son's feeling of loneliness or daughter.

In war as in war?

There are, however, situations that are even more severe and cruel in relation to children. As a rule, they arise when one or both sides of the former social unit perceive the divorce as a field of hostilities, and the child as a means of revenge against the former spouse or spouse. In these cases, the interaction of parents with a child can follow one of three scenarios:

1. Physical limitation of communication

Abuse of parental rights can be expressed in preventing the second parent from seeing and interacting with the child. This can take the form of sabotage, when, for example, the mother refers to the constant employment or illness of the child and does not allow the father to meet with him even at the time established by the court decision.

Another option is the actual abduction of the child, hiding his whereabouts from the second parent, contrary to court orders, as in the above-mentioned Aminat case. However, nuances are possible here if the person from whom the children are hiding showed a tendency to violence: beatings, blackmail, threats. Then concealment may be the only guarantee of the safety of the children themselves (until the problem is resolved in the legal field).

2. Intimidation with consequences

There is a form of "struggle" with the ex-spouse or spouse, when children are groundlessly instilled in a feeling of fear or disgust for the second parent, manipulating the child's attachment to the parent with whom he lives. "You will see him - you are no longer my son", "Did you call her? Traitor! " - and now the child himself freezes in fright at the sight of a once beloved face, asks mom or dad never to come again.

Thus, the child's psyche protects itself from extreme stress. The key word here is "unfounded." If a divorced parent screams and humiliates a child, demonstrates indifference, breaks promises, a request to leave forever may not be a suggestion at all, but a completely independent opinion of a daughter or son.

3. "Tug of war"

This scenario implies constant "competition": who does the child love more - mom or dad? In an attempt to win the child's favor, one of the parents becomes a "Sunday holiday", allowing everything and presenting expensive gifts, while the other remains in the role of a "boring controller" who always makes him brush his teeth or do homework.

In rare cases, both parents are involved in this game, from time to time demanding a confession from the child: "After all, you are better with me, right?" The truth is that this “game” does not bring any happiness to the child: the lack of a unified framework for upbringing generates anxiety, often expressed in an emphasized disobedience, a “consumerist” attitude towards adults and an inability to build truly deep trusting relationships with either parent.

Children are the first to suffer as a result of parental wars. Turned into a tool for settling scores with former spouses, they become hostages of a situation from which it is impossible to either escape or defend. And this negative experience can resonate throughout their future life.


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  3. Gurova I. V. Divorce and attachment disorders in children // Psychological newspaper. 09.01.2018. URL: (date of access: 22.07.2019).
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  5. Review of the practice of court settlement of disputes related to the upbringing of children: approved by the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on July 20, 2011 // Supreme Court of the Russian Federation: official website. URL: (date of access: 22.07.2019).
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  8. Pestova E., Idrisova B. From bride kidnapping to child kidnapping. The story of an Estonian citizen who has been trying to return her sons from Dagestan for the third year // Mediazona. 19.06.2019. URL: (date accessed: 22.07.2019).
  9. The maximum debt for alimony in Russia amounted to 118 million rubles // Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 2018-29-07. URL: (date of access: 22.07.2019).