Could your teen divorce you?
Should teens be able to break away from their parents’ control?
‘In a watershed decision, a Western Cape High Court judge has allowed a city teenager to live semi-independently of her strict parents after she applied to be emancipated from them,’ says a news report.

It’s quite sad, and as far as I’m concerned, the court’s decision is very welcome. Here’s a father, who with the full support of his wife, has deteriorated his relationship with his 16-year-old daughter to the extent that she felt obliged to seek refuge in the courts.

The other issues at play are cultural influences and a large dose of parental immaturity. I’m not going to get into the cultural thing, but parental immaturity is something I think we should all be aware of. There are many parents who view having kids as some kind of divine ability bestowed on them to produce a creature which they view as their property, just like they would a mule, for example. The creature is not allowed to have ideas and thoughts of its own and for all intents and purposes has to live its life in submission to the will of its sadly misguided parents.

These parents actually believe that they love their kids and that what they are doing is in the best interests of the children. This kind of thing is not peculiar to one particular culture either. Its roots are firmly embedded in centuries of evolution.

During Roman times for example, married women and girls were legally considered ‘property’ of their husbands and fathers. Clearly it’s time to move out of the dark ages! I’m glad this girl had the support network to help her out of this mess and I hope that her parents come to the realisation that there has to be another way to raise their child. No one can claim that their way of parenting is the right way. We all do our best and most times we learn through trial and error.

However, the critical ingredient in this equation has to be unconditional love, which in my experience, is one of the first lessons a child has to offer its parents. If you truly love your children, you would be incapable of hurting them in this way, and if you find yourself doing so, it’s time to press the reset button and reassess your values. Having your child resorting to the courts to get rid of you, must rate as the worst reflection of your parenting skills!

Do you think it’s right for a teen to be able to gain legal freedom from her parents?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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