Wednesday, 7 December, 2022

Divorce and its impact on child development

Divorce and its impact on child development

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Marriages are made in heaven, we believe, either love marriage or arranged marriage. Marriage means two different people with two different thoughts, views, goals, ambition, moral values and upbringing are signing on taking vows to stay together till the end. In case of love marriage, the couple knows each other’s choice, lifestyle and taste. It is considered as a great advantage to run the married life smoothly. In case of arranged marriage, a new couple completely does not know each other at all. So, they need more time to know and understand each other. Married persons have to adapt with once unknown people and new surroundings, which is a very tough job indeed! If you are lucky enough that you have nice in-laws, you would experience a new charm which leads you to carry on married life peacefully; otherwise your married life is completely ruined. Either you have to sacrifice and kill your soul for so-called family respect,  what often people say. Either you have to take things easily, or you have to go for divorce. In love marriages also chances of being divorced is much more. Reasons are confirmed. According to research and according to psychology there are a few reasons for divorce.

In both situations, the innocent baby enters into a cruel world where it was decided that he/she would taste like a single parent child. What a pity! Does any child really deserve this? No. Not at any cost. For your enjoyment or social cause, a child is being suffered. A child’s mental development, personality development and sensory development—all are hampered. From childhood to adulthood only a child knows how it was banged. A baby has to pay for his/her parents’ discord. You can see the physical disability of the child, but what about his/her mental disability? Have you even thought for once that you are the biggest enemy of your child who has pushed him/her into a dark world. This is also one of their reasons for children’s drug addiction.

A child has to fight, has to adopt two different situations of separated parents. At the age of six or seven, he/she deserves good parents, but she faces the cruel side/dark side of childhood being bullied by his/her classmates. He/she remains neglected in society. He/she does not get an atmosphere to share his/her feelings. The child’s father does not like to discuss about his/her mother, while his/her mother is also doing the same thing. He/she starts day dreaming of which, fairy or monster fear becomes stronger. Adulthood arrives much before time. Because of fear, loneliness and neglect, he/she does not experience the charm of attainment of adulthood. Even though he attains the age of 16 or 17, he/she experience a mentality of a child of six or seven years old. Respect, value towards parents, family, society all are vanished and gone with the wind. In most cases, he/she gets derailed and members of society term him/her as a criminal or a retarded/ mentally-challenged child, or simply as a mad guy.

I cite a case study for readers’ convenience. This is a story of a man who does an online business, while his beautiful ex-wife, a banker, has a seven years old baby boy. The wife filed a case against her husband and the case is relating to economic and physical assault. The Women and Child Affairs Court has decided that a child has to stay a few days with his mother and a few days with his father. According to the father’s statement, the  boy is staying at a village with his grandparents. The man got his second marriage six months ago. Now it is time to adjust with a new mother. It is a factor that affects a child during his/her parents’ post-divorce period. Although the research suggests that children of divorce may experience a variety of problems ranging from psychological disturbances to diminished social relationships, the type, severity and persistence of these problems may be mediated (or moderated) by a number of factors. Some of the factors researchers have identified include:  child characteristics, such as gender and age at the time of divorce; family characteristics, such as socio-economic, status of the custodial household, race, and childrearing skills: and, situational characteristics, such as parental absence, length of time since marital dissolution, conflict, support systems, divorce proceedings, custody arrangements, remarriage, and environmental changes.

The findings on gender differences in children’s responses to divorce have been contradictory. Other studies have found more detrimental effects for girls than boys. Landerkin and Clarke (1990) describes how children’s level of development affects their reactions to divorce, although they acknowledge that there may be overlap.

For preschoolers, difficulties may appear in social relationships and separation anxiety. School-aged children may react with sadness, somatic complaints (e.g., headache, stomach-aches) and intense anger towards parents. Socio-economic status: Often one of the first impacts that divorce has on a child is a dramatic decline in the standard of living in the custodial household (Bean and Berg and VanHook,1995; Duncan,1994: Ross,1995). Nearly three decades of research evaluating the impact of family structure on the health and well-being of children demonstrates that children living with their married, biological parents   consistently have better physical, emotional and academic well-being. Single parent child has some common issues like, emotional insecurity, conflict with friends, timid, lack of attention, stammering, short-temper, violent, introverted. In some cases, the child may lose cognitive and academic stimulation. Effects of divorce on child development would be a great disaster on society.

During Covid-19 pandemic, divorce cases increased immensely. However, the concept of single parent child has been changed. It has a great impact on adolescence. He/she might have been a fighter and grown up independently. So, he/she can make his own decisions by himself/herself, which is much appreciated. Nature has a great power to drive one’s life in his own way. Nowadays children have easy findings to avoid loneliness by using electronic devices. It seems to be their best friends. It can be learning materials also. Emotional development has to be happened. As a result, neuro-patients would be increased in future. The world would never know the untold story. How many sleepless nights the fellow spent; how much droplets of tears had fallen from his/her eyes thinking loneliness.

How smartly he/she hid his/her grief and kept laughing. Every day, even every second he/she remained busy remaking and rescheduling the planning of life. Every day, he/she faced a new challenge, which he/she faced courageously. He/she did her daily routine work skillfully. He grew up independently, being able to make decisions in any situation. Fearless, warrior and might be an example of the survival of the fittest. Children who have experienced their parents divorcing are often more adaptable and resilient as a result. Children can learn excellent conflict resolution skills from their divorced parents. Children become more self-reliant. Their relationship with siblings becomes stronger because they know what they are going through when their parents get divorced. Children may be a better communicator.

“Prevention is better than cure”. Divorce is the saddest part of everyone’s life. We must try our level best to avoid divorce.


Sharda Zaman, an invigilator, Exam Services, British Council, Dhaka