Broken Homes, Broken Children
According to the Center for Disease
Control's National Vital Statistics Report of 2002, 50% of first
marriages ended in divorce and 60% of remarriages end in divorce.
With these kinds of statistics, and with all the problems and pain
a couple goes through, why do people still want to get married?
Even though marriage receives so much bad
press these days, walking the aisle is still a very popular
exercise. After all, it is human nature to want to feel nurtured
and secure. Getting married is still very much desired for all its
promise of unconditional love and companionship.
But marriage is so much more than just the
wedding ceremony or the honeymoon. It is more than just the
intimacy and fun that every couple deserves. Marriage is also
about building a family. Traditionally, raising children is part
and parcel of a marriage partnership --- a task that entails the
provision of shelter, clothing, education, and love without which
no child can live without. Just as couples want to feel they
belong to a loving relationship, so do their children. It also
goes without saying that if a marriage is broken, the children
would be emotionally affected by it together with their parents.
The effects of divorce on children are important to any good
parent. But it's not always easy, when a marriage is struggling
and someone is hurting, parents should also consider what the
specific effects of divorce will be on their children.
There have been many specific studies
focusing on the effects of divorce on children. Studies show that
children from a broken family are emotionally affected by the
marriage breakup and they know that nothing will ever be the same
again. They fear change. Not just that the mother or their father
will not be around, but they may also lost contact with their
extended family, or school routines may change.
Children have a fear of being abandoned.
When parents are at odds and are either separated or considering
separation, children have a realistic fear that if they lose one
parent, they may lose the other. The concept of being alone in the
world is a very frightening thing for a child.
Children who have a natural attachment to
their parents also fear losing other secure relationships such as
those they have with their friends, pets, siblings, neighbors, and
so on. Sometimes children are simply attached to their
surroundings, and moving into new surroundings can cause an
understandable negative reaction. Divorce has also been found to
be associated with a higher incidence of depression; withdrawal
from friends and family; aggressive, impulsive, or hyperactive
behavior; and either withdrawing from participation in the
classroom or becoming disruptive.
Academically, children are greatly affected
because of their parents divorce or separation. Children from
divorced families drop out of school at twice the rate compared
with children from “intact” families. They also have lower rates
of graduation from high school and college. Children from divorced
homes performed more poorly in reading, spelling and math.
Moreover, children of divorced parents are
more likely to become delinquent by age 15, regardless of when the
divorce took place. Anecdotal evidence points out that parental
divorce and living in a single-parent household can influence a
person to have thoughts of committing suicide. Drug use in
children is lowest among those children who have been spared from
the effects of parental divorce.
Even if there are have been tension and
problems at home, some children will be shocked to learn that
their parents are getting a divorce. It may take some time for
them to acknowledge and accept that their lives will be different.
To help a child cope with shock and stress, parents should be
patient with them, ease into the new routines and living
situations if possible and constantly express and reassure their
love to them. Based on research, these are the top five reasons
why people get married:
1. To signify a life-long commitment
2. To make a public commitment
3. To legalize their partnership or for financial security
4. To formalize their partnership as part of religious belief
5. To provide security for children.
But long after the celebration of the
wedding and years after the honeymoon, when reality sets in, many
marriages fail to survive. Despite all the happiness and joy that
was shared between the man and the woman during the early years of
marriage, they end up separated or divorced --- placing their
children's security, health, and well-being at serious risk.