In a war, no one wins. And when the war centers on highly-visible parents, it is the innocent child who suffers all the more.
In the case of Kris Aquino and ex-husband James Yap, it is their five-year-old son Bimby, who emerges as the the worst casualty.
Take it from psychologist-life coach Dr. Randy Dellosa.
“Parental conflict, especially when intense emotions are displayed, is always psychologically toxic and traumatic for children. Children need to feel safe and secure in the company of their parents. When they’re exposed to their parents’ emotional battles, they grow up feeling worried, afraid, depressed, angry, and insecure,” he says.
Those familiar with the latest Kris-James saga know Bimby saw his parents wrangling right in front of him. Kris even said that she saw the boy crying because he thinks his dad was not telling the truth.
Dellosa explains the heart-rending scene at the lobby of Kris’ place.
“Children want to be loyal to both parents but are sometimes forced to take sides. Sometimes, they even feel that they are the cause of their parents’ arguments.”
When this happens, Dellosa says many children start becoming a problem at school and at home. Others, he adds, cope by turning the table on parents. They start acting like adults towards their ‘immature’ elders. Damage Control
Luckily, it’s not yet too late. Dellosa says Kris and/or James can do some damage control to bring Bimby back on track, emotionally.
“First of all, it is important for Kris and James not to quarrel in Bimby’s presence. Secondly, both Kris and James should reassure him of their love and that he is not to blame for their problems. Thirdly, Kris and James should not badmouth each other in front of Bimby. And lastly, they should allow Bimby to express his feelings about his parents and about the situation,” Dellosa states.
For Dellosa, Kris was right in giving up her career so her son can have a quiet life
“Philippine showbiz is all about drama, controversy, and scandal and thus, it might be a good decision for Kris to leave showbiz if she really wants to live a simpler and more quiet life,” he explains.
What’s more important though, is for her to heal and learn from her mistakes.
The psychologist thinks Kris should learn how to interact with James in a more peaceful way and avoid jumping into a rebound relationship.
Let’s not forget James, who needs help as much as Kris and Bimby do.
“It’s important for James to let the dust settle first before making any further moves. He needs to give Kris and Bimby the physical and emotional space that they need. James himself needs to undergo individual counseling so he can deal with his emotional struggles and receive guidance on how to move on,” Dellosa stresses.
He advises Kris and James to get a relationship counselor so they can be civil towards each other and learn how to collaborate in parenting Bimby.
“Kris and James should remember that they are still role models for Bimby even in the way that they deal with their conflicts,” Dellosa points out.
Parents, he explains, must teach their children to stay calm, rational and pro-active in times of conflict, instead of arguing emotionally or hysterically.
Finally, Dellosa borrows a line from Brad Pitt’s movie, “Troy” and addresses Kris and James.
“You’re still my enemy tonight. But even enemies can show respect.”
The line applies not just to Kris and James, but to other estranged couples and even ex-friends who want to keep their sanity when heated arguments threaten to cloud their judgment, and that of the very people they seek to protect.