PETALING JAYA: An activist group and a psychologist have warned of a likely increase in incidents of gangsterism and drug abuse following a report that more than 76,000 divorce petitions were filed nationwide between March 2020 and August this year.
Focus on the Family Malaysia chairman Lee Wee Min and psychologist Fauziah Mohd Saad of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris said neglected children might associate with the wrong group of friends to cope with the trauma caused by the divorce of their parents.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently told the Dewan Rakyat that 76,786 petitions for divorce cases were filed nationwide in the 17-month period ending last month.
Lee told FMT divorces could leave long-lasting scars on the personalities of children.
He said children tended to search for identity when interacting with their peers and could fall prey to gangsterism or drug abuse if they associated with bad company.
“Children aged three to six usually feel confused and lost during the divorce process and it’s important that both parents explain the situation to them,” he said.
He said teenagers were vulnerable too and they might become angry and resent one or both parents.
They might then associate with peers who could lead them astray, he added.
Fauziah said it was important for children to be provided a proper support system by family members and teachers.
She said they needed good role models to prevent them from ending up in the wrong company and take a wrong path in life.
“Children need attention and they will not know whom to confide in or look up to if their parents do not have a healthy relationship. This will cause them a lot of stress and they’ll possibly fall into depression.”
Lee and Fauziah both said divorce usually happened when couples lacked understanding of each other other or when pressured by financial problems or other concerns.
“Marriage is hard work and strained relationships don’t happen overnight,” Lee said. “There is usually a deeply rooted problem that couples often avoid.”