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Schools in Guangzhou deal with new phenomenon – secret divorces

Posted: 05/16/2013 11:00 am

After we told you last week about the divorce wave that is sweeping the nation, a new phenomenon has come to the public’s attention the same week that includes International Families Day: the secret divorce. That is when couples part without telling their kids.

Guangzhou Daily asked 19 couples aged 35-50 who had had secret divorces why they did it. The main reasons were:

1. They did not know how to tell their kids.
2. They worry about the impact on their children’s development.
3. They still have hopes of getting back together.
4. Living conditions are sill better for married couples.

Mr Lin and his ex-wife are both civil servants. They got divorced three years ago and Lin moved out. Because their son was only five years old, they told him that daddy had to work far away from home and could only come back on weekends. They divorced due to irreconcilable differences, but still spend weekends together for the sake of their son. However, they are aware that he will find out soon.

70% of those interviewed entrusted their grandparents, relatives or friends to tell the kids about the divorces. A few even turned to school teachers.

Ms. He, a Grade 5 teacher at a primary school in Liwan District. Last week, Ms He received a letter from a girl student who had just found a divorce agreement inside an envelope. She then phoned the girl’s father.

The girl’s father confessed that he would need help from teachers, as they knew more about how to deal with kids than he did.

Assisting divorced families has become a main task for primary school and middle school teachers in Guangzhou. A principal in Yuexiu District told reporters that every year, around three or four sets of parents confide in him that they have been divorced and they don’t want their child to know.

Professor Liu Shuqian, deputy head of Guangdong Province Institute of Family Education and secretary of the Party committee of Guangzhou University, says we are living in a diversified society so we should adopt an open mind to a diversified family patterns.

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