The Impact of Divorce on the Child
The Impact of Divorce on the Child
By Mimi Adeyemi
As the saying goes, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The husband keeps saying “good riddance to bad rubbish” and the wife keep saying “please let me be, I don’t need a man in my life; I’ve got my money”. Please tell me, what will the kids say? Why do we easily forget the products of this marriage? Oh yes, yes, yes, the man is unbearable, and yes we know she nags morning and night. But wait a minute, have you ever thought about what could happen to the kids if you two go your separate ways? Tony will be with me and Cynthia will go with his Dad right? How cruel of you two. Have you forgotten that Tony and Cynthia have a life? Do you know the pains of not being raised in a proper family way?
Believe me, there is a rise in the rate of divorce in Nigeria today and my heart bleeds.
The divorce rate is so high and the reasons for this trend are numerous and unending. Even in churches, the divorce rate is practically 50-50.
Divorce is a painful life changing phenomenon which has negative effects not only on the separating couple, but majorly on the children of the marriage. Unfortunately, attention is paid mostly to the couple and no one ever thinks of the children.
When parents decide to separate, their children are faced with multiple stressors.
With this rising rate of divorce, it is important for parents who choose to tow this line understand the effects of divorce on children:
1. Divorce introduces a massive change into the life of the child no matter the age. Witnessing the loss of love between parents, the daily absence of one parent, trying to adjust to living in two households instead of 1, a sharp decline in the lifestyle the child has become accustomed to.
2. Divorce is always stressful for children. Most children do not want their parents to separate (unless the marriage was full of intense conflict and anger or other sources of misery not suitable for children).
More so, most children have a hard time during the divorce transition period. Adjustment to divorce may take 2 years or more. Some children even continue to have significant problems into adulthood.
With time, the child begins to develop reactions like rage, anger, resentment, anxiety, depression to mention a few.
3. Divorce affects the children’s education. Children may have to move from the family home, change schools. School work starts to suffer or negligence begins to set in.
A girl child becomes anxious and withdrawn, boys become aggressive and disobedient.
4. In a younger child, divorce intensifies the dependence while it accelerates the older child’s independence. The younger child regresses while the older becomes more aggressive.
5. I tell you, a girl child from a broken home would become sexually active earlier than a girl from a healthy home.
Children feel abandoned by the absent parent, they feel at fault, they feel helpless to change the situation.
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