Women Lead Pendidikan Seks
December 23, 2016

Stop Stigmatizing Children of 'Broken Homes'

Children of split parents are often stigmatized as troubled, a bad influence, and presumed to be prone to failed relationships too. This must stop.

by Maria Yuana

What strikes when you hear the words “broken home”? I could guess it’s probably not something positive. No one can deny that coming from a dysfunctional family – or the so called “broken home” – carries a negative stigma. People tend to look down on those who come from such families.
As a person who comes from a broken home myself, I’ve had my share of being misjudged and underestimated. I always get blamed for something I never did. Many of my friends’ parents see me as a bad influence. Too often I hear people talking behind my back, judging me from all aspects. They say I’m “wild” because at times I go home after midnight and enjoy hanging out with boys rather than girls. They love to criticize the way I dress. Some even have the audacity to ask me if I’m still a virgin. And what is that supposed to mean? Because I grew up in a broken home I can’t possibly still be a virgin? Other times people also feel responsible enough to tell me how I should live my life. They feel they need to fix me.
And now when I’m of age to find a partner and get married, I feel the pressure caused by my family background even more.
Apparently, many people think that children of broken homes lack the values and morals necessary for a healthy and lasting marriage. We don’t have enough of what people call “bibit, bebet, bobot.” Not only do they look down on us because of our parents’ unfortunate turnout, they also believe that it will affect our own romantic relationship in the future.
People see our family history and presume that it will result in our personal failures. I often hear comments like “she’s a drug addict because she comes from a broken home,” or “he got his girlfriend pregnant because his single mother wasn’t morally fit to raise him,” or “no wonder they got divorced, her husband came from a broken home.”
In case you don’t know: you don’t need to come from a broken home to do drugs. You don’t need to be raised by a single mother to get your girlfriend pregnant. We all are prone to mistakes. Stop assigning all the blames on our families.
Broken homes kids are products of unwise choices that end with the split-up of their parents. But the failure of the parents should not make us judge the children involved. We are unique individuals. We have different thoughts, different personalities and different life goals.
Every divorce is as traumatizing as the other for everyone involved. It leaves scars. Of course there are psychological impacts of growing up with split parents. However, we all have a choice. Each of us is the writer of our own life stories. Broken homes or not, we all can have a good life. No one should act like we don’t deserve it, even ourselves.
When I was a child my mom always told me to only hold on to the good values and throw away the bad ones. She never forbade me to do anything; instead, she reminded me that every action has its consequences. “You reap what you sow – good or bad”, she said, quoting the Bible. And that’s the principle I embrace to this day.
The fact that Mom and Dad chose not to be together is completely out of my control, but it doesn’t mean I will follow their path. I might not have grown up in a happy family, but I will try as hard as I can to let my future children do.

Maria Yuana is a librarian who loves to sew. She can’t really decide whether she’s liberal or conservative. Currently busy planting the good seeds.