There is a devastating demoralising disease sweeping the
world at a drastic rate, and children in our generation have
a 42% chance of being infected with it.
This disease will affect almost every aspect of a child's
There is no cure, no treatment available, but there is a
The question is, will you try to stop it?
This disease will give a child a 48% higher possibility of
One in four children that get the disease will drop out of
Out of the three in four kids who stay in school, 40% of them
will not graduate by the age of 20.
If a child is seriously affected, they will fall behind their
classmates in math and social skills, and are at immense risk
to suffer from anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, which can
lead to depression and suicide.
And what is this disease?
In today's world, when a husband and wife are no longer happy
with their relationship, there is an easy way out.
Divorce - the legal separation of man and wife, by judgement
of a court, therefore totally dissolving the marriage
You are happy, your ex is happy. Simple solution
right?Wrong!Has anyone spared a thought for the children?
In 2012 alone, 20,521 marriages were registered to New
Also in 2012, 8785 divorces were granted.
Of those divorces, just over 86% directly involved a child
under the age of 18.
Regrettably, children in our generation are exposed to this
''disease'' through no fault of their own.
Is it fair for a child to be caught in the middle of an
argument that isn't of their own making?
The effects of divorce on children and teens are astounding.
Just one of those effects is the strained relationship
between the parent and child.
Among children and teens from disrupted families, 65% had a
very poor, negative relationship with their father, and 30%
of them had a very poor, negative relationship with their
For a child, this can lead to vast negative effects:
insecurity, anxiety, stress, depression, the list goes on.
If a child does not receive the love and acceptance they need
from their parents, they will search for it elsewhere.
And elsewhere can be a very dangerous, misleading and
But the scary thing is that confusion from home then
transplants itself into school life.
Teens with divorced parents are 25% more likely to drop out
of secondary school than a teenager from a stable household.
But there is more bad news.
Of the teens that do stay in school, a huge 40% will not
graduate secondary school by the age of 20.
Dr Brad Wilcox from the University of Virginia found children
from stable homes are more likely to have a better childhood,
saying: ''Children who are growing up in a two parent family,
which gives them access to the love, security, attention and
financial resources they need, are more likely to excel in
reading and less likely to be held back at school''.
With those statistics and the divorce rate rising by the day,
more and more teens are going to end up out of school with no
qualifications, no job and worst of all, no-one to fall back
Then again, you must have heard the cliche, ''Do what I say,
not what I do''.
It's something that we have all grown up hearing, right?
But the thing is, it is a proven fact that children learn by
watching others, especially their parents, leaving open the
huge possibility of the disease becoming hereditary.
Children who are coming from this type of family situation,
grow up believing when things get tough you just give up.
This has been proven by a man named Nicholas Wolfinger.
He found that children from divorced households are twice as
likely to go through a divorce themselves.
He believes divorce is an important topic because it has so
many consequences for a child's wellbeing.
It has been said that half of two is less than one - a
statement that I believe is terribly true.
Divorce is a disease, a disease with far too many awful
effects on New Zealand's youth, for it to be ignored.
So let me leave you with my challenge.
If there comes a stage in your life when you feel it is
necessary to divorce your partner, please think about who
else is going to have to live with the consequences of the
decision you make.
Ask yourself, is it really worth it?
You may be our today but our children are the tomorrow.
• By Ashleigh Smith, Year 11, Maniototo Area