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Child Custody is Not Always Determined By Ability Or Disability of Child

January 11, 2021 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |

Do Not Use Children As Weapons

As stated in my previous article on Child Custody it is the best interest of the child that really matters. The courts use this criteria to determine what direction and or decision will be taken as it relates to the custody of the child.  Too many of our parents feel that a disabled child for example is not intelligent enough to make decisions as it relates to whom should be their guardian.  Whether abled or disabled their psysical or mental incapacity is not always alone used to make determination on thorny custody issues.  They are humans beings too.

Child First

As long as the child in the centre of the custody battle is able to  communicate their views … this may actually help the court. The child may be used to help to decide the direction the court wishes to take.  The mental capacity may help to make emotional determination as to which parent or guardian to stay or live with. Which parent or guardian may be best suited to care for the child.  It can be a very complex issue. The child’s interest as usual is put first above other considerations, hopefully.

The Disabled Has A Mind Too

Contrary to what many may say or think even if disabled, the child could be able to say clearly what he or she wants.  A disabled child could be quite capable of making sound decisions. Let us not forget that fact. They are humans too.  Trust me on that score.

Kidnapped As Weapon

Parents in conflict may be tempted to taken a child/children with it if

fleeing the matrimonial home or if couples live together in some form of union … to possibly spite their partner etc.  The child may be “kidnapped” and even taken overseas.  Using children as weapons when separation occurs is common, but wrong.  This topic was discussed Friday 17 Th December 2020, on a radio show FM 90 3 .. Nationwide News Network (NNN) in Jamaica called “Jamaican Dads”.  This can be a very thorny one to sought out.  The court has to act. Of course the best interest of the child also comes into play in the this scenario as in any other consideration. Locating the child may not be an easy task.

Clinical Psychologists’ View:

“There must be a balance in the psyho-social development of the child.  Both parents have important roles to play.  Both parents have an integral role to play in the physical growth and development of any child.”

States noted counciling psychologist who asked not to be identified, as being a public servant attached to the Family Court, who fears any possible retribution for publicly speaking on such a matter without her employer’s prior consent or permission.

Informal Custody …

This article is geared at court related custody issues mainly. Unfortunately many such custody issues happen or are settled informally. That is outside the formal court setting. Family, friends, church leaders etc. and age of children are all part of this dynamic and should not be discounted or overlooked.  We are all in same together.

Building blocks

Children are in my perspective the building blocks of our society and should be seen as precious gems who should be taken cared of as delicate fragile commodities entrusted to us. We should nurture them and bring them up by setting the finest examples for them to emulate.  Moral compass must be an integral part of the important ingredients of such a block making exercise.  This blcck will crumble under the pressures of say peer pressure, most easily,  if the right aggregates are not put together in their upbinging. Let them learn by example and not just do as  “I say,  but not what I do.”


Too many parents/guardians for example send their wards/children to church, but fail to attend themselves.  When such children fall into bad company whom should bear the blame?  Certainly not the children alone, but instead the parent. My late mother, a noted teacher and social worker, always told me, son:

“You don’t have delinquent children, but instead delinquent parents”

This is not to say grown children should not be held somewhat resposible for their conduct.

What is your perspective?  This is mine on this very thorny issue of child development as it relates to custody … especially if child happens to be challenged otherwise. The mistakes we make and the negative impact

of such failures on our part could and often results in anti social- behaviour,  crime and violence and the like.  If that is not bad enough, too many parents use their children as weapons of mass distraction and distruction in their interpersonal relationships/conflicts with say their spouse. Oh so sad indeed!

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist who thrives on politics, but dabbles in other topics like Child Custody issues etc.

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