Marital Discord – Traumatic for a child


Marriage is one of life’s most significant, and in many ways, difficult

responsibilities. It has, and makes, its own demands. A spouse, when

unable to cope with the stresses of his/her marital life, develops unhealthy

habits and qualities, which has far-reaching consequences for everyone

involved.

Times have certainly changed today. Interactions between couples have

taken a different turn now, even though the fundamental dissimilarities

remain the same. Quarrels have started taking new and different directions,

assuming serious proportions. These days, in the age of fast-track

conversations and time-bound interactions, as the factors of communication

between spouses become even more limited, couples seem to have very little

faith left in each other. Often, both spouses work, and consequently, develop

separate groups of friends, and by acting upon, in consonance with the so

called well-wisher’s advice, the affected parents end up lacking in common

interests and reasons for happiness and enjoyment. Due to this absence of

common grounds to bind them together, they slowly start drifting apart, and

in worst-case scenarios, this can ultimately lead to a complete breakdown of

communication which further undermines the very foundations of marriage.

This trend is now growing rapidly in the Indian set-up. Couples who disregard

the basic premises of the institution of marriage, unfortunately, end up

losing respect for their other halves, and this situation is further complicated

when they have kids. Even at a very early stage of such distancing and

disagreements, their kids’ mindset and psyche are very deeply affected. In

such cases, parents begin to find out very soon that their child is turning

hostile towards them and the consequences are almost always the same as

those in Kaka’s case.

A few words for parents!

Giving birth to a child is one of the most beautiful aspects of a couple’s

life. As a parent, you are rendering your most valuable creation to the society.

You can hold your head high now because you feel that you have added a

good civilian to the population. But you will have done your bit only after

reaching your goal of nurturing your child in the right manner. This frees you

from other challenging issues in your life such as old-age worries. Now you

are more competent and capable of acquiring enough strength to go ahead

and face the newer challenges in life.

No matter how much money you earn, and fame you garner, your

conscience will always mark you down as a ‘failure’ if you are unable to

provide your child with a good upbringing through the continuous projection of your

own problems relating to interpersonal relationships within your family.

If these personal problems get accentuated to such an extent as capable

of overpowering you, you will only end up detaching yourself from the quite

wonderful possibilities of family bonding and togetherness. As this situation

unfolds itself, in the ultimate analysis, your child will be unable to perceive

you in a positive light, because, as you fight restlessly inside the shell of your

own issues, your focus and priority shifts away from your family, very much

to your discomfiture. Eventually, it is your child who becomes the victim of

your frustrations, for the simple reason that you become so prone to giving

vent to your inner turmoil by throwing a tantrum against your own creation

that you ultimately keep distancing yourself and losing the vital emotional

connection that you share with your child.

A child, unable to fight back against his parents’ indifferent or harsh

attitude, begins to find himself helpless. Bitter, acrimonious arguments

between spouses (as in Kaka’s case) may fill a child with aggressive,

dangerous thoughts and this might lead him on to unforeseen, perilous paths.

When this aggression reaches its climax, he needs and searches for an outlet

to get rid of it and, more often than not, ends up manifesting it in harmful

ways.

Just take five minutes to form a mental picture of your child’s possible

misdeeds: aggression, addiction, substance abuse, delinquency, depression,

loneliness and withdrawal. Is this what you desire for him? Think about it.

85

Marriage is not a Herculean task. You have

accepted it willingly and for a valid reason

Marriage is a long journey. You need to equip yourself with all the

necessary qualities (psychological, physical and financial) to counter the

trivial or non-trivial problems of your family and present yourself as a

near-panacea for all the ills related to your spouse and kids. Adhere to the

basic family principles. After all, you have taken a vow before God to take

responsibility for your family and that is something which should never

be taken lightly. Shirking your family responsibility and shrinking from

your commitments constitute anathema to the will of God. Do not impede

your child’s growth by being too critical towards your spouse. Check your

negative dispositions as soon as possible. Get prepared! Be careful! You are

going to breed a new generation which is only recognized exclusively by

your name, i. e., Mr or Mrs X /Y/ Z’s generation.

A problem rarely crops up abruptly. It is a slow and gradual culmination

of certain minor deviations and disagreements. However, one should

remember that conflicts must be encountered in such a manner as they only

makes the marriage stronger. Problems are not always your enemies: they

make you realize your own fallible humanity and should, if treated correctly,

make you realize the importance of the support and love of your partner.

Small instances of strife should only work towards immunizing your family

from other larger troubles. However, a large number of couples have lost their

faith in the institution of marriage because they have neither the patience nor

the courage to face the exacting demands of such situations. That is why

many marriages are falling apart these days. Lamentably, most couples are

so bent on making mountains out of molehills that they end up exhausting

themselves and are too weak to stand their ground when the larger problems

of life crop up. They are so engaged in fighting for their own rights that

they seem to forget the psychological trauma that their kids must be going

through. Couples’ self-centredness and focus on their own enjoyment at the

cost of interpersonal relationships are common reasons which disturb the

healthy atmosphere of the home. They get carried away by greed, lust and

desires and give priority to obtaining their own pleasure. These behavioural

trends are quite threatening to healthy interpersonal relationships.

This is clearly detrimental to a strong family foundation. Indifference

towards the family or self-absorption may be a reciprocation of the same

message given by the spouse and it only goes to increase the emotional

distance between spouses.

8

Marriage is a joint venture. It cannot be turned into a selfish endeavour.

There has to be as much ‘give’ in marriage as there is ‘take’: its success and

strength depends on this delicate balance. When you add children into this

complex equation, their well-being and happiness has to be made priority

No.1. It is of decisive importance to remember that the sacrifices you

make today are for a larger cause, a cause bigger than yourself, and having

consequences more far-reaching than you can begin to imagine. Sometimes,

you need to lose a battle, in order to win a war.

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