ColumnSociety Watch

Why Divorce May Not Spell Doom For Children


The rate at which marriages break down irrevocably these days is quite alarming. Recently, it was reported on Akwa lbom State Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) that over 250 cases have been filed in Uyo division of the Akwa Ibom State Judiciary. In fact, elsewhere in Nigeria, from south to north, the figures of marriages may make that of the Akwa Ibom State capital insignificant in terms of newsworthiness.


Aside dissolution cases at the law courts, including customary and sharia courts, there are several cases of break up of marriages that are not accommodated in formal statistics. Indeed, statistics or no statistics, broken marriages are commonplace in our society such that no one needs to go to shelves of governmental or non-governmental authorities before knowing the grime pictures of marital instability.


Marriages that hit the rock cut across people from diverse areas of life across the globe. Celebrities who are seen as models of the society may not be considered models in this regard as quite a number of them have had their marriages crashed. The clergy class across major religions in the world is not left out in the social malaise.


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Regarding the unsavoury situation, there has been fears that broken marriages could adversely affect children from spouses that have separated. One of such fears revolve stigmatization of the children with concern that the marriage crashes of parents could lay foundation for crashes of marriages by succeeding generation of the families in question. How true?


Rather than being true, the reverse is rather the case in many instances. There are, number of factors that work in favour of children from dissolved marriages. Firstly, in almost all cases, the primary concern of the separated parents centre on their children’s welfare – about their basic primary need, their moral upbringing, their social orientation, their aspirations, fencing them off from stigmatized and ostracized public, among others.


It is in view of the foregoing factor that makes governmental or non-governmental institutions, as the case may be, to prioritise their interventionist interest, normally tied to certain conditions on the overall survival of the children from the fractured families. This goes a long way in bracing up the children to face the future with determination to succeed in all fronts, including ensuring timeless happiness of their different families when they are of age.


Arising from the failure of preceding families, the next generations are always on the watch for identified plagues that polarise the parents’ families. In some cases, it is even the parents, though on different abodes, that help in guiding the children from falling to pitfalls that put them apart.


Children from separated parents also benefit from protective interest from members of their extended family. This factor works better in Africa owing to age-long cherished extended family, which epitomises co-parenting. In many instances, the co-parenting fills the parental gap of children brought up by single parents. The added advantage is that those kind of children, provided the factor works with appreciable level of perfection, end up benefitting from multiple guidance and guardians, resulting in a better future, including their marital life.


An interview with Ayo Babalola, University of Uyo best graduating student, consented to this factor when he revealed his life stories on Voice Your Stories website. He pointed out how he was raised by his uncle and aunty after the separation of his parents and this impacted his life positively.


In his words: “My uncle’s family were very nice people. They raised me well, taught me Christian values and sorts. I was not maltreated or anything of sort after my parents’ separation. My aunt raised me like her own son and my uncle did the same. Their children became like sisters to me.I regarded them as my sisters. In fact, till now, I find it difficult to refer to them as cousins.”


On top of the extended family interest, the larger society play deciding role in grooming the children to overcome whatever shortfalls might have contributed to breakup of their parents. In this case, change agents, such as religious organizations, educational institutions, especially at the primary level, specialized NGOs with core interest in the welfare of children from separated parents, are always handy in providing the needed supports for the affected children.


In some countries, there are governmental agencies with special interest for children from the background of broken marriages. With this, such persons are provided with moral compass and institutional ladders to become successful in many ways in the future.


In addition to the above factors, children from families whose parents do no longer put up together, in many occasions, consider their plight a self-challenge to prove certain bookmakers and cynical society wrong. Cases abound where such children are wary of rushing into relationships without reading lines on lines.


Even after securing their marital relationships, the downsize of their parental background becomes reminder for them not to trek the path perceived to be bedeviled with booby trap for marital failure.


According to Stella Thomas, a lady from a broken home hinted that “the society fails to understand that a child from a broken home learns faster, they are careful when it comes to choosing a mate because they do not want to repeat the same mistake their divorced parents made.

“The stigma might be there, but these children grow up to be responsible fathers and mothers because they would never want their own children to experience what they went through at a tender age, they would try as much as possible to solve any marital issues that might arise, just to ensure that they maintain a loving home.” She opined.
All over the world, there are innumerable examples of children whose parents’ marriages failed yet they grow up to perfecting their own marriages, as far as stability is the case study. One of the prominent models on this score is Barrak Obama, the immediate-past President of the United States, whose father and mother separated in his formative age. Obama who is married to Mitchell, with two children from the relationship, blissfully lived together for 27 years, so far.


From the adduced factors, it could be concluded that broken relationship between husband and wife does not automatically sentence the children from the relationship to treading the same fault path of their parents. Provided the children properly learn the derivable lessons, it could even turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

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