Conflicts in Marriage and its Effects on Children

Introduction and Background

Many are the marriages with conflict which poses threat in the life of a home; will this have a negative effect on our children? Though our relationship is still intact, we have what we can only describe as a “”high-conflict marriage.”” Is this likely to hurt our children? In life, everything depends on the way you approach and handle your differences. Believe it or not, it might be a good thing for your children to see you and your spouse having an argument, as long as you manage the condition in a respectful and in fine fettle way. It’s a sad fact that few children ever have the opportunity to see their parents resolve a conflict in a positive and mutually satisfying manner. Instead, disagreements within a marriage all too often depreciate into roaring matches and character eliminations either that or they are suppressed and repressed. Children who have repeatedly observed these destructive responses to conflict are likely to be ill equipped to manage the disagreements that will inevitably arise in their own lives and relationships. This doesn’t mean that they should make a habit of arguing in front of the children. There’s room for discernment here. In particular, you should never voice a disagreement in front of a child who is the subject of that disagreement. This is not a mistake that even in the biblical records, a long human past of interpersonal problems and communication breakdowns. Adam and Eve, the first married couple, had a disagreement about the reasons of their sin in the Garden of Eden. Their children, children’s have had conflicts that led from century to century in family life till today.

Generally speaking, if there’s to be any kind of positive outcome, the children should be old enough to understand what you are talking about and emotionally mature enough to grasp the concept that you can disagree with someone whom you deeply love and respect. Young child and grade-school children may misinterpret a spirited parental exchange as the unraveling of their world. They should rarely, if ever, witness a serious parental disagreement. Older children and adolescents, on the other hand, can learn something by watching two mature people settle an issue in a constructive fashion. Obviously, this isn’t the place for a detailed exposition of all the principals involved in settling marital disagreements.

Divorce in marriage is the most conflicts phase of a married couple’s life. As adults, they might eventually get over the tough period, but children become a collateral casualty. Their minds are tender and can slip into a state of shock on seeing parents split forever. The adverse effects of divorce can be long-lasting on children and may impact their own relationships. Studies have shown that in the US, the daughters of divorced parents have a higher divorce rate than those of non-divorced parents. Children who witness a divorce could be disturbed by the thought of not seeing their parents together again. Among the immediate short-term effects of divorce on children are:

  1. Apprehension: The outcome of a divorce causes the child to become tense, worried, and anxious. Young children are more prone to it than the older ones since they are heavily dependent on both the parents. An concerned child will find it difficult to concentrate on his/her studies and may lose interest in activities that he once found enticing.
  2. Constant tension: According to some research studies in the diaspora, many children falsely consider themselves the reason behind their parents’ divorce and assume the responsibility to mend the relationship. This can lead to colossal stress and pressure on the young mind, which can have several repercussions like negative thoughts and nightmares.
  3. Attitude swings and irritability: Young children may suffer from mood swings and become irritable even when interacting with familiar people. Some children will go into a withdrawal mode, where they stop talking to anyone and shut themselves away. The child will become quiet and prefer spending time alone.
  4. Intense sadness: Acute sadness rushes through the heart and mind of the child. Nothing feels good in life, and the child may eventually plunge into depression, which is a long-term manifestation of this sadness.
  5. Dissatisfy and distress: Children of divorce may feel hopeless and disillusioned because they do not have the comprehensive passionate support from their parents. This situation can become worse if the child is looked after by a single parent with no access to the other parent.
  6. Behavioral and shared problems: A child is at a greater risk of developing violent and rebellious behavior when the parents’ divorce. He or she may lose temper at the drop of a hat and show no hesitation assaulting someone. In the long run, it may lead to the development of a criminal mindset, especially during the adolescent years. Studies show that most children of divorce display the characteristic traits of aggression and disobedience with varying degree of intensity. Extreme cases of these conditions make the child a social misfit.
  7. Trouble with relationships: When children grow seeing a marriage fail, they develop doubts about love and harmony in a relationship. They have trust issues and find it challenging to resolve conflicts in a relationship. Such children, as adults, will start any relationship with a negative mindset.
  8. Prone to substance abuse: Drugs and alcohol become the avenues for adolescents to vent out their frustration and anxiety. Research has shown a higher incidence of substance abuse in teens whose parents are divorced. Of course, there are other factors like the care provided by the single parent, which determine the adolescent’s tendency to have drugs. However, the probability of an adolescent succumbing to the temptation is considerably high. Long-term substance abuse has damaging effects on the well-being of the child.
  9. Depression: The feeling of sorrow and heartbreak caused by parents’ divorce can make a child slip into depression. Depression is a mental health problem, and children who witness divorce have a higher incidence of depression and social withdrawal. Researchers note that divorce can be a contributing factor in cases of bipolar disorder observed in children.
  10. Poor education and socio-economic position: The adverse psychological effects of divorce diminish a child’s interest in education. Children who experience the divorce of their parents show a drastic drop in their school grades. It can significantly impede a child’s ability to learn at school and college. A stunted progress in education hampers career prospects of the child as an adult, which make it difficult to have a decent socio-economic status.

On the other hand, divorce is not limited just to the parents but extends to the entire family. The effects are long lasting. Despite the downhearted associated with it, there is a positive way to look at divorce from a child’s point of view. The child no longer has to experience a tense atmosphere at home as their parents will no more quarrels. As they are no longer greeted by arguments, they return home from school or college with a positive mindset. It also ensures that the child does not wander away with a bad company to avoid badmouthing parents at home.

The deed is done and over. It means, the separated parents can now focus on the children as the task of getting divorced is completed. The child does not have to rely on pseudo-comforters like drugs and alcohol. When a child is free to shuttle between the houses of his both parents, then he may spend fruitful time. His interactions are no longer interpreted by an argument, and he can pour his heart out freely. It also gives each parent an opportunity to divide the responsibility equally, and still be the caring mom or dad that they have been. Research has shown that divorce can help a child study better and improve his grades since he no longer has the baggage of quarreling parents back home. What happens when you see your parents’ marriage fail? You get the best life lesson on managing relationships. Studies about positive effects of divorce have shown that children who witness the split of their parents can show maturity and patience while managing conflicts in their relationships in future. They communicate better and always strive to be good by not repeating the mistakes of their parents. This could be a positive way of looking at a divorce, if that is imminent. The child’s reaction to their parents’ decision depends on various factors such as the age of the child and gender. Divorce is a bitter pill for you and your children. But if you have no other option but to opt for it, make sure your kids are not affected in the melee. They have a long way to go in their life and your divorce cannot be an impediment to their growth. Divorce rates have climbed across the globe over the past few decades especially in Ghana and for that matter an increase of divorce rate among urban Centre’s is astronomical.

As you might expect, research has found that children struggle the most during the first year or two after the divorce. Divorce creates emotional turmoil for the entire family, but for children, the situation can be quite scary, confusing, and frustrating.

Statement of the Research Problem

In view of the evaluation of the background in the research study, we seek to assert the problem of the statement as to why and how and under what condition did divorce occur in the family? Were they (parents) not aware of the challenges leading to the conflict in future before they went into marriage life? There are many problems with divorce or broken homes which at the long run reflect on the performance of children in their upbringing. Some of these problems are;

  1. Assembly of a gap on the children’s existence because there is no adult to guide and direct their behavior and desires as they learn by imitation.
  2. There is increase in domestic work and redistribution of household chores, which leaves the children with little or no time for their studies
  3. Also, it has been observed that children from broken homes suffer some other problems such as non-provision of some basic material needs like food, clothing and learning material
  4. In security, step parent do not show much love and affection to their step children. Thus, these children suffer from mental retardation, personality improvement and are always miserable. They show behavioral responses like lying, stealing, building and playing truant in school.

Significance Of The Study

We pray that after findings from this research study we will elevate our audience of teaching them social doctrines. We are interested in the study of effect of divorce on the performance of children because whatever happens in the domestic home has an impact in the academic performance of children at school. It is necessary to educate the young children who are yet unmarried about the issues, conflicts and causes of divorce and their consequences on the them. It will also make young children to annihilate their parents. Findings from this study will aid children from parent who are being thought divorce in the understanding of problem experienced by their parents and give them assurance about their future. The prominence of this study is that the society as a whole will stand to profit greatly in the sense that, it will aim at transporting out the effects of marital conflict inflicted on people in the society and will have less marital and psychological problems and as such, they will be able to contribute their maximum prospects to the benefit of the public. This research will help the members of the society to acknowledge those things that bring about marital conflicts between married people so as to avoid divorce making reference to what St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 echoes and also quest to keep a simple eye and avoid competitive living.

Scope Of Study

The scope of the study covers the geographical location of the following town, Tema, East Legon, and other well-endowed estates in the Greater Accra religion of the republic of Ghana. To start with, it was not easy getting arriving at these facts. We had difficulties in collecting information because the people concerned felt reluctant to give useful information and time to attend to us. And the belief to keep secret family issues to only family members.

Literature Review

This research study seeks to provide a literature review of some of the social science findings related to the effects of marital interference on children in the Capital city of Ghana. The resurgence of Divorce and life in a one parent family are has grown astronomically following the canker in 1960s, divorce in Northern America was sporadic. However, with the advent of some legislative acts introduced on Divorce, which made divorces more privilege in our society and for that matter Accra in Ghana and allowed marriage breakdown as grounds for separation, has streamed deeply down to the Ghanaian married couples conscience thereby seeing it as normal and forgetting its implications on the sociocultural breakdown on the children and hence contributing to the menace of streetism in Accra and its environs as we experience today. According to sociologists and anthropologists across the globe, the divorce rate has increased more than quadruple in marriages and hence affects the child in his/her educational ladder, social wise, religiously, psychologically there is no point of concentration in the life such victims since they become vulnerable. According to the report, in the late 1980s, approximately 74,000 children became “children of divorce”

There has also been an increasing debate on the subject matter, even though series of suggested solutions has been propounded as well as recommendation gearing in the prenuptial period thus if there has been counseling therapy before the marriage was established noting the probable difference to occur in future.

Through our research review of the several literatures on this same study, it will examine how one strength best understand the concept of ‘best interests of the child’ by examining studies which attempt to tease out the effects of marital disturbance on children. Although the majority of articles are from various field of academia across the world, for the most part, similar results have been found in other countries and there is little reason to suspect that the experience of Ghanaian children would be substantially different. We seek to discuss the limitations connected with research conducted in this sphere.

In reviewing the conflicts in marriage life and its implications, which we are seeking to examine the effects of marital disturbance on children, three diverse research performances have generally been engaged: scientific valuations; relationships of children from divorced and unbroken families; and, thorough conversations with divorced families (Amato, 1987). Scientific valuations generally involve examining children of divorce who have been referred to various counselling or medical platforms. For instance, Wallerstein and Kelly (1975) scrutinized the effect of parental divorce by cross-examining parents and children referred to divorce counselling. Although scientific valuations provide a great deal of information concerning children from martially disturbed families, they focus on life-threatening cases and, therefore, the results cannot be generalized to the mainstream of children who experience marital conflict. In accumulation they present an almost invariably undesirable picture of children’s post-divorce regulation and it is these studies which outweighed in the early years of research on the effects of divorce.

Relative studies usually associate non-medical samples of children from families experiencing marital disturbance with children from unbroken families. These studies usually examine objective, measurable outcomes, such as academic achievement, emotional adjustment and self-esteem, through the use of tests or surveys. However, many of these measures do not allow an understanding of how separation and divorce are intuitively experienced and construed by parents and children. The third technique involves conducting thorough interviews with parents and/or children from divorced families in order to elicit the experiences from their own perspective. Problems associated with this performance include probable bias or misrepresentation of facts by those interviewed.

Children of divorce. Healy, Malley and Stewart (1990) also suggest that observed gender differences in adjustment to divorce may reflect the overuse of clinical samples rather than genuine gender differences. They argue that the undercontrolled behaviour of boys is more readily observed and, therefore, more likely to lead to clinical referral.

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