People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, and the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. It is usually formalized at a wedding or marriage ceremony. A broken family is typically considered to be a family where one of the parents is missing due to divorce or perhaps the second parent was never part of the family. There are ways to minimize the emotional impact that children usually feel in these kinds of families. If the single parent really puts forth effort to provide a stable, loving and supportive environment for their children, it can go a long way to soften the blow of a broken family. Children from broken families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles than those whose parents stay together, Government research has found. It also showed that two parents are much better than one if children are to avoid slipping into emotional distress and anti-social behaviour. The findings say that children’s family backgrounds are as important – if not more so – than whether their home is poor, workless, has bad health, or has no one with any educational qualifications.1 The research adds to a wealth of data that shows children suffer badly from divorce or parental break-up, and that those brought up by a single parent are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, and fall into crime, addiction and poverty as adults.
The report, funded by the Department of Health and published by the Office for National Statistics, investigated emotional disorders – ranked as those which cause considerable distress and interference with the way in which children perform at school and during play. It also looked at conduct disorders which result in aggressive, violent or anti-social behaviour. The researchers studied nearly 8,000 children aged between five and 16 in 2004 and found almost one in ten had disorders. The children were checked again last year. The report said that a child whose parents had split during this time was more than four and a half times more likely to have developed an emotional disorder than one whose parents stayed together. They were nearly three times more likely to exhibit a conduct disorder. Eleven percent of those children whose families broke up had emotional disorders, against 3 per cent among those whose families were still together. Nearly a third of children found to have mental disorders in 2004 still suffered from them three years later. The Department of Health said: ‘The Government is committed to helping children and young people experiencing mental health problems.’ But academic Patricia Morgan, author of several studies on family break-up, said: ‘This does not come as a surprise, and things are going to get worse. ‘Broken families and serial fathers produce homes full of conflict and chaos and they are terrible for children.’ Going through a broken family is a very difficult situation to be in. Usually it is what is happening between the parents, that concerns most people.
However hurtful divorce is on the couple that is going through it, the children end up with the greatest amount of problems. These problems that the children develop are not always obvious, and do not always come to the surface right away. “Most often the children responded to the announcement with apprehensiveness or anger. Several children panicked finally, a great many of the younger children, about one-third of the entire group, didn’t really believe what they had been told. For these youngsters, the single announcement by the parents made it easier for them to pretend that the divorce would soon go away and to postpone their own response to the frightening changes in their lives”. Children often try to stop the divorce of their parents, but there are many who seem to accept it at first. These who seem to accept it may even tell their parents that they are happy about the divorce.
This is not necessarily the case, as one would see if he or she spoke with the child for a while. There are many things that divorce does to a family, and there are many things that is does to the child. These effects are rarely positive or helpful depending upon the family’s prior situation. Divorce has many negative effects on the psychological and social aspects of a child’s life. A Filipino Psychologist Cathrine Ponce said, “It can greatly affect the lives of each member of the family but is not the be-all and end-all of it. It does not define an individual nor determine the course of his/her life,” she said. She gave some tips for young people on how to cope up having a broken family: Learn to talk to your parents about the “what and how” after the change in the family structure. Do not shut down your communication with any of them.
Remember that even though things will not be the same again, they are still parents; they still have the responsibility to guide and care for you. Seek out the help of others and support groups that will give you a different perspective and assist you in dealing with the brokenness in a positive way. She believed that having an atmosphere of open communication can prevent a family from being broken. It allows family members to air out thoughts and ideas, discuss their differences and weaknesses as well as their love and admiration for one another. It helps resolve conflicts and issues. She said that communication comes in different forms and ways; it is a matter of practice and attitude.2 Rev. Fr. Pluth S. Rodriguez, a priest from Hinundayan, Southern Leyte, said that one of the problems that the church is facing nowadays is the growing number of broken families. If there are broken families, there are broken relationships that are deeply rooted in broken vows. It is a result of immature decision in entering the marriage state and irresponsible and selfish action of the couple to part ways with or without undergoing a certain process. Fr. Rodriguez recommended that a couple must start with a serious and responsible courtship and relationship before entering marriage. “Both male and female should understand the real and deeper meaning of union in marriage,” he said.
He noted that children will be the sacrificial lambs in broken families, the situation will psychologically affect them as they grow up and move on to have their own families. He advised children in broken families to: accept the situation; learn lessons from the experience; always think positive; be strong; move on; entrust your family into the hands and mercy of God; continue to love both your mother and father; instill in your mind the teachings of God; nourish and nurture your own family; and remember that God will restore and heal everything. There are many psychological aspects of a child’s life that change when his or her parents go through a divorce and the family gets broken. The child naturally looks to his or her parent or parents for the example of how to handle certain situations and emotions. During a divorce there is much anger and aggression that is expressed by one or both parents of that child. This is not healthy for the child to witness for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that the child sees this example of aggression that his or her parents are setting, and he or she begins to react in the same manner. Anger and aggression tend to become the child’s tools for solving his or her problems. The child becomes like the parents and could cause harm to others because of not knowing or understanding how to control these feelings. He or she may often violently lash out at those around him or her that cause these feelings to occur. After a divorce, children from pre-school through late adolescence can experience deficits in emotional development. Children of all ages may seem tearful or depressed, which is a state that can last several years after a child’s parents’ have separated, explains psychologist Lori Rappaport. Additionally, some older children may show very little emotional reaction to their parents’ divorce. Rappaport explains that this may not be developmentally beneficial. Some children who show little emotional response are actually bottling up their negative feelings.
This emotional suppression makes it difficult for parents, teachers and therapists to help the child process her feelings in developmentally appropriate ways. By its very nature, divorce, changes not only the structure of the family but also its dynamics. Even if you and your spouse have an amicable divorce, simply creating two new households permanently alters family interactions and roles. Based on the new living arrangements, your children may need to perform more chores and assume additional roles in the new household’s basic functioning. Additionally, in some broken families, older children may take on a parental-type role when interacting with younger siblings because of their parents’ work schedules or inability to be present in the way that the parents were before the divorce. To conclude, broken family has many negative effects on the children that live through them. “Broken” homes are a tough situation to deal with, those children across the globe attempt to handle in very similar ways. Their reactions to the broken family itself are similar in many ways; it affects both the psychological and social aspects of their lives.