Why Do Some Parents Act Like Children?

In this morning’s Vancouver Sun newspaper on the “Celebrating” page, you will find the usual assortment of happy events: birth announcements, wedding anniversaries and high school graduation congratulations. Colour photos of happy, smiling faces abound.

But there is one Happy Birthday greeting that is unsettling to me. The contributor of the greeting wished his 8 year-old son a happy day, and reminded him that: “There’s not a day in the last five years that I have not thought about you…hopefully one day you will be in my life..there’s so much you and I have missed…maybe next year you will be in my life.”

So, what’s the story here? From where I sit as a family law lawyer, a happy ending is probably unlikely. A number of scenarios come to mind. Has the boy been abducted by his mother? Is this a case of parental
alienation? Is this father unfit to parent? Is he a victim of false molestation allegations? Is this young boy just a pawn in a dirty divorce?

Each of the scenarios described form a part of the work day of family law lawyers who take cases that no other lawyer wants to handle. Reading between the lines, the parental pain is apparent and yet, the real victim is this young boy. The psychological literature tells us that kids raised with one parent missing from their lives will experience social, behavioral and psychological problems that children with two engaged parents will not.

Two questions arise : Why would a parent intentionally harm a child in this way? Why would a parent act like an angry child?


4 thoughts on “Why Do Some Parents Act Like Children?

  1. Another question: Why did the newspaper allow that comment to be published? I know at the paper I worked we would never publish those kinds of greetings that set off red flags.

    1. Stephen You raise a very interesting question. I am not familiar with newspaper protocol but my understanding is just about anything goes unless it is defamatory or profane. Georgialee

  2. Regardless of the comment being posted it was posted-it shows that divorce is very ugly and often it’s the children who are most effected…….I feel badly for all involved-Why would a parent act like an angry child? Good question-

  3. The answer is EASY to anyone involved in a relationship with someone who is personality disordered – borderline, narcissistic, anti-social with any number of combinations and co-morbidity. But it all boils down to one thing —- Emotional Immaturity. When a child has an emotional trauma, they stop emotionally maturing at that age. If it is under 3, the emotional maturity level will equal a personality disordered person. When it is as an older child, then the emotional maturity level includes qualifiers like cause and effect and denial.

    How can we expect adults to behave as adults during a divorce who didn’t act like adults when married? We know that in order for a couple to have gotten to a place where one parent would feel the need to post a letter such as the one referenced above, that emotional immaturity played a huge role in the demise of the marriage.

    Someday, perhaps, all adults will put their children first. Pray for spiritual sight so that we might all know what to do.


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