Do you know someone whose marriage is falling apart? our close knit naga family and community life is facing challenges these days. we have little access to professional counselling, except maybe through our churches and religious leaders. marriage breakdowns can be devastating for both partners, but there is a deeper long term effect when a divorce happens.
|Children of “Nagaland Childrens Home” in Dimapur Nagaland|
Divorce has never been that common in Naga society. Unfortunately, while I have no official statistics, I believe the rate of divorce is increasing sharply in our society.
What has been causing the breakdown in our relationships? Domestic violence, addiction (alcoholism, drug abuse), extra marital affairs , misunderstandings , personal differences between couples, interfering in-laws etc .Many people consider divorce as a social embarrassment only, and often don’t pay heed to the other negative impacts that come with divorce. Unlike in the advanced western countries where people have now realized the deep negative impact of divorce, our society is still staying behind closed doors trying to shy away from it. This is clearly evident from the fact that there is still no proper research on divorce in our society. Married couples don’t have access to marriage counsellors in Nagaland and there are very few social programs that cater to this subject.
The negative impact of divorce runs more cruelly especially in marriages where children are involved but the effects of divorce on children are often not even acknowledged. Many parents who divorce do not pause to think about the effect their decision has on their child. In a patriarchical, patrilineal society like ours, normally when parents divorce the father usually retains custody of the children according to our customary laws. In most cases the mother and the children are often forbidden to meet. This is particularly more pronounced when the children are still very young infants. In such cases, children must confront the fact that they are not even allowed the freedom to meet one of their parents at times.
Even if the parents have to divorce, it would ease the minds of the children to know that parents are still there for their children. A child should never be forced or expected to forget or ignore his father or mother’s existence. Let us remember that divorce means a dissolution of marriage, a final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving of the bonds of matrimony between the parties (i.e. the parents). It doesn’t in any manner define that a child and a parent’s relation is to be severed or cancelled. If parents try to keep their personal grief and disappointments aside and try not to engage in conflict for the happiness and well being of their child then there will be greater possibility for their child to move on with life.
Studies conducted in the developed countries reveal –
“Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use. Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly. Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress. Children of divorcees tend to fall behind in their math and social skills and may not catch up with their peers.” Researchers have said these difficulties, along with feelings of anxiety, sadness, and low esteem are more prone to committing crimes due to the impact of divorce on children. Our society still largely underestimates the negative impact of divorce on children, possibly because facts regarding this have never been officially furnished. For many of us, divorce is still more of a social sigma and many of us still don’t want to discuss it in the open. No matter what our attitude towards it may be; we cannot go on ignoring it because whether we like it or not we cannot deny that divorces are now occurring more frequently than ever in our society.