April 22, 2009

Last week I watched a talk show on German TV. It was about new custody regulations for divorced families. The participants spent a lot of time argueing about whether the new regulations were defending the rights of the mother, the children, or the father. The main complaint was that without proper financial support from the father of the child the mother would have to go back to full time work which would then leave the children without anyone taking care, thus serious mental damage would be the result.

While I was listening to the discussion, I was constantly asking myself “Aren’t there people to support the single parent? Where is the family, the grandparents? That’s when I remembered this image that I took in Bangkok in February 2009:

I have been in Asia for eight years now and noticed that the the fact that nucleus family structures are mostly still intact, single parents still have support and back up, even after a divorce. Grandparents are traditionally the people who take care of children while parents are out to make money. This is their classic role and they do it very well.
In my experience, the more people a child has he/she can relate to, the healthier the child will grow up. These can be parents, grandparents, relatives, neighbors, teachers, friends… anyone really, as long as the relationships are stable and lasting.
I my opinion the problems in Germany are not caused by a lack of legislation (there’s plenty of it in Germany!), but due to the fact that families are to small. If there are only The parents and the child(ren) then there is no one to fill the gap when one person leaves.

I always find it very refreshing to see Asian families still helping each other!


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