Many kids experience the stress of divorce each year and how they react depends on their age, personality and separation circumstances. The term divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union.
According to the UN, the country with the highest rate of divorce in the world is the Maldives with 10.97 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants per year. This is followed by Belarus with 4.63 and the United States with 4.34. India has the lowest divorce rate as stated by the research study. In India, the divorce rate is less than 1 percent. Out of 1000 marriages, only 13 results in divorce.
Politifact.com estimated in 2012 that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%-50%. The rate at which couples get divorced in Nigeria is low compared to the western world and according to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the divorce statistics in Nigeria show that 0.2% of men and 0.3% of women decide to end their marriages.
People get divorced for various reasons, some of which include: Infidelity- It is one of the most common causes of divorce. Extra-marital affairs are responsible for the breakdown of most marriages that end in divorce. Another reason is Money and according to several studies and divorce statistics, a “final straw” reason for divorce is a lack of financial compatibility and also money mistakes in marriage. Lack of communication is also a common reason.
Communication is crucial in marriage and not being able to communicate effectively quickly leads to frustration for both, impacting all aspects of a marriage. Unrealistic expectations can put a lot of strain on the other person, leaving the partner feeling let down and setting the spouse up for failure. Lack of intimacy leaves couples feeling as though they’re living with a stranger or more like roommates than spouses. Lack of preparation for marriage is one of the most common reasons for divorce.
Physical or emotional abuse is a sad reality for some couples. It doesn’t always stem from the abuser being a “bad” person, sometimes deep emotional issues are usually to blame. If your in-laws interfere in every conversation, decision and lifestyle choice that you and your partner make, it can end up making to the list of valid reasons for divorce. Let us not forget that jealousy and insecurity can lead to cracks in a relationship and eventually become one of the reasons for divorce.
The rippling effects of divorce on the child are sometimes untold and some are evident. The effects may be short-term or long-term and a few of them include the loss of interest in social activity. Research suggests that divorce can affect children socially and a child whose family is going through a divorce may have a harder time relating to other children. Sometimes children feel insecure and wonder if their family is the only family that got divorced.
Poor performance in academics also arises, especially for children trying to understand the changes going on in their family leaving them distracted and confused. This interruption in their daily focus can mean one of the effects of divorce on children would be seen in their academic performance. Some children may find it difficult to adapt to changes in the family dynamics, house or living situation, schools, friends, and more may all affect.
Irritability, in some cases, occurs and children may become irritable or angry when they feel overwhelmed and do not know how to respond to the effects they feel during a divorce. Moreover, feelings of Guilt that increase pressure can lead to depression and stress. Emotional Sensitivity is not uncommon as divorce can bring several types of emotions to the forefront for a family, and the children involved are no different.
Feelings of loss, anger, confusion, anxiety, and many others, all may come from this transition. Divorces can leave children feeling emotionally sensitive. Finally, despite hoping to have stable relationships themselves when they grow up, research has also shown that children who have experienced divorce are more likely to divorce when in their relationships due to loss of faith in marriage.
Fortunately, studies have shown that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious issues in the wake of divorce or, later, as grownups. A 2002 study by Psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore showed that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, disbelief, and shock but these reactions typically disappear or diminish by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer.
Here are some ways to help children cope with divorce: Firstly, encourage total honesty. Kids need to know that their feelings are important to their parents and that they’ll be taken seriously. Help them put their feelings into words. Kids’ behaviors can often clue you into their feelings of sadness or anger. You might say: “It seems as if you’re feeling sad right now. Do you know what’s making you feel so sad?” Be a good listener, even if it’s difficult for you to hear what they have to say. Acknowledge their feelings like saying, “I know you feel sad now” or “I know it feels lonely without dad here”. Let kids know that their feelings are valid.
It’s important to encourage kids to get it all out before you start offering ways to make it better. Let kids know it’s OK to feel happy or relieved or excited about the future. Offer emotional support by asking, “What do you think will help you feel better?” They might not be able to name something, but you can suggest a few ideas — maybe just to sit and talk with them, take a walk, or hold a favorite stuffed animal. Younger kids might especially appreciate an offer to call daddy on the phone or to take a picture to give to mommy when she comes at the end of the day.
Take the high road — don’t resort to blaming or name-calling within earshot of your kids, no matter what the circumstances of the separation. This is especially important in an “at fault” divorce where there have been especially hurtful events, like infidelity. Get help from a therapist, counselor or trusted friend.
And to all children and adults out there with divorced parents, know that you are worthy of love, you are worthy of being cared for, you are worthy of a life filled with happiness, joy, and laughter. So the question is, “Are you brave enough to deem yourself worthy and hope for the best?”
The views and opinions expressed in this opinion article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.