Monday, February 6

Who suffers the most?

Recently, I've been reading alot of celebrities' break-ups and I can't help but wonder, what happens to the kids? 

Let's name a few.. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett - Smith, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Heidi Klum and Seal... Of cos like Kim K and Kris Humphries 72-day marriage was something I had expected, the world had expected and no big of a deal cos they have no kids involved in their bitter divorce. But for the above-mentioned earlier.. they have kids! I mean, so what if they have all the millions in their banks? U cannot use money to cure emotional breakdowns. Don't even talk about counselling... 

Let's not talk about celebs. Let's talk about "normal" people like us. My extended family, my friends, my own family.. I've seen a lot of divorce episodes growing up. Even my parents filed for divorce when I was 19. Those of you reading this entry, if you're in the midst of a divorce, or knows anyone going thru a divorce and they have kids, I hope this entry will help you sort out your emotions before proceeding to do anything.

Of cos, if you're physically abused, mentally tortured by that son of a bitch, then yes, proceed and move on cos you definitely deserve better. But if you're divorcing due to the fact that finances are straining your relationship, your in-laws are not supportive, or anything, that can be resolved without divorcing... think about it again. Think about your kid / children. 

Kids are often most affected ones when their parents divorce. They are too young to understand what went wrong. They will always have the impression that "mommy and daddy are separating because of me". They will be very confused when they only see daddy or mommy over the weekends. Suddenly, they will feel very lonely, emotionally. Their parents are no longer with them. Mom/Dad doesn't smile anymore.. They are no longer around when they need them. Mom/Dad gets easily upset over small things they do.. Things are just no longer the same.

According to studies, 80% of kids from broken family backgrounds all turned out misbehaving in one way or another in school or home. Their main reason? "My parents don't even care about me, so whatever I do, who cares?" Out of the 80%, a portion will turn into homosexuals cos they are scarred by their own parents' marriage.. and another will turn to drugs and gangs for security and independence.  Of cos, there are about 20% of kids that will use studies as a form of frustrations and they will have the mentality "if I have money, I will be able to do whatever I want, and even have happiness so therefore, I must excel in my education." Sad truth, but it's reality.

I know it is difficult to put everyone into consideration before making a big decision. Sometimes, divorce is the only way out. Being Asian myself, I noticed that Asian parents, in general (no offence to all my friends reading this) tend to pinpoint the blame onto the other party. The father will blame the mother, the mother will blame the father but they will NEVER blame themselves. I'm not saying the Western culture doesn't do that, there is, a small group of the Westerners that does that as well.. but it's the Asian society with this problem. They will always shift the blame to their partner for the divorce. 

1. Money is never enough for the family. Reason? Wife's earnings is for herself, husband's earnings is for the entire household, including kids. Husband tries to have wife compromise but only one word comes out from her mouth, "no".

My views : Wives.. please, I'm a wife too. It's true that we as women, are taught that we need to have personal savings, in case our husband decides to walk out on us or pass on earlier than us. I can agree that we need to save for OUR rainy days. But our earnings are not completely ours to keep / spend. You said "i do" to a man, not to yourself. When you earn, you keep a portion for your savings, and the rest is to be spent within the family.. like utilities and kids. When birthdays or anniversaries approach, to keep your marriage going, little gifts make a difference. Your husband is also a human, he also need savings. What if you pass on before he does? I'm sure he needs to keep for his own rainy days as well. When it comes to money, compromise and discuss what portion goes to kids, what portion goes to utilities, what portion goes to groceries and etc.. and a small portion from each to your own parents.. if you realise that finances are not enough, go back to point A and figure out how to cut down on certain expenses and then re-evaluate again. As husband and wife, communication is very important and talk to each other nicely. Before you want to say, "it's all your fault", think about it. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. If you earn more than your husband for example, don't keep reminding him of that fact. He will definitely feel inferior but we don't have to rub salt into his wound. Any men will find it tough to accept that his wife earns more than him. 
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2. After having kids, my husband is no longer interested in me and have an affair. Reason? Wife is so busy juggling with family and too tired to think about anything else except nag. Husband wants to have sex but wife says "i'm tired, another day ok?"

My views : Ladies, you're not the only woman in the entire world who is married with kids, staying at home. Being a mother is a job no men (for the most) can handle. I know of some men who are house husbands and they deal with it better than women!! Don't make yourself look so haggard just because "I'm a housewife, who will look at me except my kids?" Your kids are looking! I'm not asking you to cake up on the make up even when you're at home. Groom yourself. If the hubby doesn't work on weekends and you don't want to spend money grooming yourself outside, do it at home. Tell the man that you need a few hours after lunch to "do your own things" and he has to take over the kids for awhile. Take extra time to scrub all the dead skin cells on your face and body, do a hair mask and face mask.. foot soak, groom those bushy eyebrows, trim the nails or file it neat. lather moisturiser all over your body and sit down with a cup of drink and just rest for that few hours. Men likes women who upkeep themselves and looking fresh and neat. A woman who "maintains" herself will have more confidence than a woman who just let herself look like she came from Stone Age. Sex, on the other hand, maintains hormone levels and makes a person glow naturally. If you don't want to have any more kids, take birth control. But don't neglect your hormones as well as your husband's hormones. Don't jump into the shack with a husband who looked like he ran around Singapore cos it will NOT be romantic at all. Make sure you find time to re-ignite that spark with the man you fell in love with at the first place. Even if you can't have sex due to "unforseen circumstances", cuddle, and hug in bed and watch tv or anything, read magazine or a book.. but don't bring your iPhone or iPad into bed cos electronics stops all human communication. Listen ladies, you and your man fell in love and got married, unless your marriage is match-made.... still, you can learn to love and understand the man, ok?
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3.  Husband and wife are big earners and leave their kid/kids to the maid at home.  Reason? Husband and wife have nothing to even talk about on weekends, cos they are either facing their laptops, working or answering phone calls from colleagues or sudden meetings. They will end up squabbling when their kid/kids don't even go listen to them over simple things, except maid and start blaming each other for lack of time spent with the family.

My views : Hello big earners, wanna be my friend? HAHAH! Just kidding... I'm a working mother myself and I have a domestic helper. I don't deny when I need to do my work at home, I put my lil girl to play with my helper despite her cries and etc. But I made sure I finish my work then I concentrate on playing with my girl. Leaving your kid to a helper or even putting them in a childcare can sometimes be inevitable. U just have to. There's a reason why both you and the husband needs to work. But there's also a reason why you and your husband got married in the first place. Be it a shotgun or planned, u guys got married and you have the kid so its YOUR responsibility to communicate and spend time with your kid. You have to put aside your differences (if you have) to spend time with the child cos the child is innocent. It's not about who has to spend more time with the kid. Both have equal responsibility. It's BOTH of you that need to spend time with the child together as a family, without the helper (if you have one) cos helper is there to help, not be a parent. Don't push the blame, instead, work it out as a team. Talk. Compromise. 
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4. Egoistic husband and and wife and none is willing to compromise cos they are simply self-centred. Reason? They have to prove to everyone that they are capable of handling everything in the world, including family but actual fact, they cannot handle everything on their own. They just don't want others to laugh at them.

My views : Hello, you need to put Mr. Self-Centred into the trash can. When you have a family, self-centredness is something you need to start moving away from. It's YOUR family. YOU have to handle it YOUR OWN way, not another family's way. YOU are not capable to handle everything on your own. YOU need a support. Don't yell into your partner's face and say "I'm better off without you!" or "I know what I'm doing, don't teach me what to do!" Your partner may not be the best of help but you need his/her support. It can be a physical support, mental support, emotional support, even financial support. Just like your kids. To you, no matter how old your kid is, he/she will always be a baby to you. You will always treat them like a kid. You will always feel that they don't know alot of things but actual fact, you want to be in control of every situation that's why you think only YOU know what to do and you do not need anyone's help. But when suddenly no one helps you, you will be the one end up ranting and raving that no one bothers to help you despite seeing you doing everything on your own. You need to wake up and realise families do things together. Husband and wife work hand in hand to build a happy family with happy children. If you have children, its ur responsibility to give them happiness.  Don't push the blame onto the other person and make yourself the victim cos the real victim isn't u!
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5. Fight about how to bring up the kids. Reason? The husband or wife NEEDS to have that face-value so that they can proudly talk about their kids in front of their friends and family so they equipped their child with all sorts of activities from Monday-Sunday, including tuition classes. One of the partner will disagree and will always end up fighting about who's parenting skills is better.

My views : Now mums and dads.. seriously, every parent will think they are the best parents in the entire world and no other parent can teach them what to do. Reality check : No one is born to know how to do everything. They have to learn. Just like parents.. you had your "first time parent" encounter and you had to rely your parents, friends, siblings, books and tv to learn how to deal with kids for the very first time. Handling other kids not your own is easy. Handling your own is NEVER easy. In this case, mothers are usually the ones who "worries" the most cos that's "a mother's job". CORRECTION : That's a parents' job. Dad has a responsibility to worry for their child's future too. Why a mother would usually worry more cos the Dads' mentality will be "I'll provide the financial needs while my wife will provide the emotional needs". Dads, no no no no no. U have a role to play in the child's education too. If you are involved, well done. If you're not, u gotta do something! In Singapore, our government hopes our country to be world best (at everything), that includes making sure the young Singaporean kids excel in education. Having said that, more and more parents make sure the children goes for tuition classes to make sure they score 90% and above for all their subjects in school... in this typical kinda environment, parents don't realise that they are adding a lot of pressure and stress to the kid. Parents reaction to kids' stress: "Who says kids have stress? They don't even know what's stress! They have no stress, they are just plain lazy!" They are in school, 5 days a week, 6+ hours and then with extra curricular activities like sports or uniform groups... Upon reaching home, they have to get ready for their tuition class or private tuition at home. That will take up another 2 hours minimum. After that, they have to do their homework (if any)... and lastly, get ready for bed. Some kids, they go thru this typical routine at least 3x a week. Some even 5x a week. Now.. parents.. for working parents, you go thru your work, 8 hours a day. Some of you need to do overtime. Your overtime is similar to your kids tuition lessons after school. As adults, we are able to control our emotions like frustrations and anger to our bosses.. because we have to earn the money, we have to endure what we need to do at work. Even highly paid workers, they are given a huge sum of money monthly and they have a bulk of work to do too! It's not as though you're paid $6k a month and you do nothing and sit on ur desk and shake ur legs. YOUR kids, cannot voice out their emotions for fear of getting nagged or yelled by moms or dads. Some can't perform well in school, some excel. For the ones who can't perform, you will end up saying, "I spent so much money on you and yet you give me this kind of results?" and the kid will feel that he/she did not ask you for it. If we adults need a day off from work, our kids need that too. I know some parents will think in our society, we cannot afford to let our kid rest or else he/she will lag behind. Our government did not say that you need to pump the kids with everything every single day. If you can complain about being tired, aren't your kids human beings too? Don't they have the right to be tired? What we can do as parents is to encourage, motivate and show examples, realistic examples to our kids, instead of enforcing your ideals onto them. Especially when parents are going thru a divorce, one of the parent would wanna spend quality time with the kid, the other will pump more activities so he/she will excel. Every child is different. Even our arms' length are different. Our feet are of different sizes. Our kids are different from one another too, even if they are twins. Parents, don't put a strain on your marriage because of your expectations on your children. They are not a liability. They are your responsibility. You brought them into this world, you need to give them happiness. On the retrospect, don't over pamper them just because they are your only gem in the entire world. There's always a give and take system in every household. How you give and take with your partner, your kids will learn. They are watching you.. you are their mirror. Come up with a plan together as husband and wife.. then fine tune to put everything into perspective. Come up with Plans A & B. Talk to friends who are parents themselves. 
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6. Monster-in-laws. Reason? Comparing each other's parents and says "why can't your mother be like my mother?" "why doesn't your mother understand me?" "what's wrong with your parents?" "your mother doesn't like me anyways, why do I care?" "your mom expects so much from me!" 

My views : Ladies, on the eve of your wedding, your mother or a mother-figure will tell you, "when you marry him, you marry his family too." Now, there's a true and false in that statement. The "true" about that statement is you have to respect your partner's parents like how you respect yours. Well, if you don't respect yours (i hope it's not the case), slap yourself real hard. SERIOUSLY, they brought their child (ur lifetime partner) up.. so does your parents. So of cos to them, their child is the best. To your parents, you're the best too. Now, the "false" is... in-laws will tend to interfere here and there. If they get too involved in everything, then it's time to sit your other half down and lay some conditions. Parents should not get involved in how their children should set up their family. They can guide, not arrange. Their responsibility as parents are completed once their child gets married. A father/mother-in-law will always have a certain expectations from their daughter-in-law. It's normal. They would want their daughter-in-law to be able to whip up a 10-course meal and give birth to only boys (traditional kinds) and stay in the kitchen all day long, clean the house and just be a slave to the family. A modern kinda mother-in-law would want a capable career woman daughter-in-law, as well as a good wife and mother and able to maintain the household. But we as daughter-in-laws will compare "the other mother" with our own mother. We cannot compare, ladies. We will be a mother-in-law in the future too and we will have the same kinda expectations too. Don't be too quick to say you will NOT have expectations cos it's human nature. Don't start yelling into your partner's face and complain buckets full of unhappiness over his/her mother. "Your mother is .........." His/her mother is half a mother to you too. Be respectful. Older generations will tend to have their complains, rants and raves. It's not that they hate u. They are just worried that the marriage won't work out and want to "help" maintain it but not realising they are doing it all wrong and if no one tell them to stop, they will think it's ok to do it. So, if you have monster-in-laws that interfere.. you have to sit them down. Talk to them firmly, with your partner around. Have both the families to sit down for a meal and maybe talk about strengthening the family bonds and ask the folks for advice. From there, they will see that they need to back off cos their children are no longer their responsibility. If they portray some sort of unhappiness in between the conversations, it means they feel that "you don't need them any more". Reassure them that you will go to them for advice, AS A FAMILY. When your children see that, they will not only learn to be more respectful to the elders, they will learn to communicate effectively with you as well and that's ultimately the whole point. 
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Sure enough, physical abuses and mental tortures can also contribute to the divorce. That will be understandable cos no husband or wife should be subjected to physical/mental tortures.

Having seen points 1 - 6, aren't they familiar? 

Having said everything in this entry, I hope instead of heading straight to the lawyer's office to file for a divorce, you will re-analyse the marriage and make it work, especially if you have children. Children suffers the most in a divorce. No matter how much love, care and concern you shower them after the divorce, that emotional hurt will never be healed and the child will always bear a grudge against their parents for not giving them a happy family. So instead of fighting, squabbling, arguing, whatever you do.. stop and spare a thought for your child. Also, never ever fight or shout at each other in front of your kids, be in young or older kids. Kids always feel that "daddy and mommy fight because of me". They are unable to understand what we adults have to deal with. So instead of making things worst, talk things out. 

I'm not an expert in this aspect but coming from a broken family myself, I can relate. I do everything within my means to keep my marriage healthy and happy. I have my ups and downs with my man sometimes, even financial issues.. but we make it a point to talk. We talk calmly.. of cos, i have a bad temper and he doesn't have one so I will always have to curb my outbursts cos I don't want my daughter to learn anything negative. I can understand the pain my mother had to go through to divorce my father when I was 19 cos I was old enough to. But your kids may not be mature enough to understand. 

I hope this entry helps those who are going thru a tough time now... remember you're not alone going through all. 

xo

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