Despite all the glitz and glamour, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie always struck me as very sensible parents. They kept their brood out of the spotlight and seemed determined to allow them to have as normal an upbringing as possible.
I’m baffled, though, by what happened. They have been locked in a lengthy and bitter court battle for almost five years, with Brad Pitt finally being given joint custody of five of their six children this week (the eldest, Maddox, 19, is not subject to the custody decision).
But now Angelina is appealing against the judgment. Is all the fighting really worth it?
The unedifying custody battle reminds me of so many warring parents I have seen over the years, who, often thinking they are doing the best for their children, spend years and fortunes fighting each other in the courts.
The parents, licking the wounds of their failed relationship, convince themselves that what they are doing is right.
Yet the emotional scars, the uncertainty, conflict, rifts and split loyalties result in lasting damage to their children.
As a doctor, I am sick and tired of seeing children taking the brunt of the emotional fallout from failed marriages, messy divorces and warring parents.
On AND off over the past 15 years, I have worked in A&E covering mental health, as well as in child psychiatry. So I’ve seen the impact of affairs and bitter marriage breakdowns countless times: young children and teenagers with emotional and behavioural problems, with eating disorders, with unexplained physical illnesses that are really manifestations of emotional distress.
And those are just the very worst cases.
Speak to any teacher and they will tell you of the low-level, insidious damage done that never makes it to the doctor’s waiting room.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Dr. Max Pemberton