As a teacher of grade 5, I come across children who are ten and eleven year old, on the borders of adulthood and struggling to find an identify for themselves. Last week, I noticed a boy who had suddenly started misbehaving with the teachers and other students as well. Continuous complaints of abusing and hitting other children left me baffled as I had not had any such problem with him for the first seven months of the school year!
I sat him down and talked to him one day alone after the class, and asked him on a polite note what was troubling him? After looking at me for a few seconds, he suddenly burst into tears, and told me that his mother was in hospital because his father had treated her rougher than a punching bag. His two younger brothers and him were now living at his maternal aunt’s home. He went on to say, ‘Ma’am it is the seventh time that she has gone there and I really miss her’. I was shocked and did not know how to handle it. I simply told him that I was sure his mother missed him too and she wouldn’t like to see him behave bad with others.
The behavioral problem disappeared within a few days day. The common concept in the Pakistani community is that of praising the
husband and wife who stayed in a marriage long after they stopped liking each other only for the sake of the children. It is considered
a great sacrifice, and even greater title of being happy and married, the couple is proud of themselves, and expect their children to be more caring than others because ‘I gave up the best years of my life because I didn’t want you to grow up with a broken home’. Nobody bothers to ask the how kids feel, for whom all this sacrifice has been made, to ask them if they would have preferred the fighting parents to living parents separately , or to judge what effect it had on the children (especially young ones), or if they appreciated the parents who are stuck with the partner they have no feelings for and if any, were on the cusp of hatred and strangeness.
The child mentioned earlier is under a father who has never moved a finger to hit him, but constantly hits the mother whom he loves
unconditionally, is the mother right to stay in the marriage? Is a man who doesn’t like his wife because of his querulous nature, because
of her lifestyle, because of her laziness or for any other reason right to stay in a marriage only because he has a child with her? For
me, the answer is a definite NO.
Many couples believe that the children do not notice the tension between their parents, they do not see that they haven’t laughed
together as a family in years and that they look at each other with contempt. It is the biggest misconception in our society. Children are
the best observers and they store everything in their subconscious, to be used later in life. In case of the child mentioned above, the
research says that as he has observed his violent father at home, there are more chances of him having a dysfunctional relationship with women and to become a physical abuser himself. The question which needs to be answered is…is the mother right to stay with the father or should she leave? (Considering that she has the financial resources to cover the expenses of the children herself)