LONGREAD: How marital conflicts affects a child’s education

Usually, people confuse education with schooling. When the word ‘Education’ comes to mind, people instantly visualise schools, universities and colleges. There is a major problem with this mindset. This problem is while people are looking to learn or be taught, the way a lot of school and teachers pass down an ‘education’ is not really education. Everything we know as regards education falls into schooling – basically with little aim and finesse, trying to drill learning into people according to some plan which may or may not have been updated since getting drawn up by others. Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Reglus Neves Freire in 1973 defined our brand of education as banking – making deposits of knowledge. It gets wrong when the ‘schooling’ depreciates into treating learners as objects; things to be acted on rather than people; diverse and unique and meant to be related to.

Education has been defined as the process of facilitating learning. Basically bringing forward the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences which may lead to a potential change in synthesising information, depth of the knowledge, attitude or behaviour relative to the type and range of experience. This further broadens the scope of our traditional and African definitions of Education. This education can be done through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training and directed research. Education often takes place under the guidance of educators, but learners must more often than not educate themselves. Since time immemorial, we have been told that education can take place in formal or informal settings. This is because education in itself is any experience that has a forward formative effect on thinking as well as reasoning.

But education in these parts of the world is hardly enough and sufficient. There needs to be Total Education. Total education is an aggregation of educations to help become a better and more rounded and complete person. Because as humans, we need to be bolder, we need to be kinder, we need to be more tolerant of each other. Because humans are constantly and consistently changing, the mode and means of education from stages as preschool or kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and then college, university, or apprenticeship need to change and evolve.

It is African to treat children differently – leaving them to ‘society’ to learn who they are. It is African and Nigerian to stifle children and have them meet up with certain standards and so called ‘best practices’ on who they are meant to be. All these times, children are not usually provided the best environments to figure out themselves. Education, like charity, begins at home. Education beginning at home means children and all stakeholders involved in the lives of the children have to be in their best place emotionally and financially for their children.

It is, however, human to put children in the middle of relationships and spousal problems. Long-term, serious marital discord can have significant emotional and physical effects on children. Although most couples experience some marriage problems, the occasional argument will not adversely affect children. Rather, it is frequent and aggressive arguments or those that disrupt normal family functioning that have traumatic effects on their children. Children will tend to show an unhealthy perfectionism which happens when they set terrible standards for academic performance and will show upset when they fail to meet their own expectations. A significant exposure to marital problems can distort a child’s problem-solving skills which will ruin the mental and emotional maturity the child is supposed to be gaining. In addition to showing academic perfection, older children may take on parenting responsibilities of younger children and believe that they must act as a parental figure to younger children and protect them from parental arguments.

A natural part of children’s development is internalising both their parents. When parents are consistently at odds, their kids internalise those conflicts. Rather than feeling soothed or comforted when they are with both parents, they feel tense. Such ongoing tension can produce serious emotional, social, and physical ailments in children, such as depression, hopelessness, or chronic fatigue. Children who felt threatened by their parents’ interactions, particularly low levels of violence, are at increased risk of developing trauma from the bad marital relationship. In children, this may take the form of stomach aches, insomnia or separation anxiety. Even sleeping infants can develop anxiety from hearing the background noise of a parental argument.

Children raised by battling parents have great difficulty getting close to others. Intimacy triggers the traumas they suffered when witnessing their parents’ dysfunction, so they avoid closeness to steer clear of getting hurt. If they manage to establish an intimate relationship, they remain cautious or guarded. When conflict arises, they’re most likely to flee or to reenact their parents’ conflicts with their own partner. Children who are exposed to parents’ abusive acts are at significant risk of experiencing social problems, particularly as teens. In particular, exposure to an abusive marriage puts children at risk for poor academic performance, drug use, self-destructive behaviours and suicidal tendencies. They may also struggle to form meaningful relationships with peers.

How then do we go about Total Education?

Total Education needs to be a huge chunk of our lives. In play, in study, in work, we need to realise that we need to be purposeful about the things we do and how we become influences for more people. The role of religion and religious groups in the disbursement of an education needs to be debated in Nigeria. A lot of the ism’s currently in Nigeria stems as a result of tribal and religious differences. These differences fork out a new type of insensitivity for a new generation of people. Africa and Nigeria needs to move beyond regional laws that are based on the flaws of religion to one that caters to how we want and need to see each other as humans. Awareness of diverse religious and nonreligious worldviews is a crucial component for living and working in an increasingly diverse society.

The United Nations (UN) ratified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to serve as benchmarks for every nation to ensure global prosperity, protection of the planet, and an eradication of poverty.

This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.Goal 4 of the SDGs was a unique goal focused purely on education. This is the first time such a standalone education goal has been set and ratified.

Goal 4 of the SDGs was a unique goal focused purely on education. This is the first time such a standalone education goal has been set and ratified.Goal 4— Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning

Goal 4— Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning.A quality education provides resources to ensure that each child enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle; learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults; is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community; has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults; and is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

A quality education provides resources to ensure that each child enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle; learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults; is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community; has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults; and is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.A quality education provides the outcomes needed for individuals, communities, and societies to prosper. It allows schools to align and integrate fully with their communities and access a range of services across sectors designed to support the educational development of their students. It should be supported by three key pillars: ensuring access to quality teachers; providing use of quality learning tools and professional development; and the establishment of safe and supportive quality learning environments.

A quality education provides the outcomes needed for individuals, communities, and societies to prosper. It allows schools to align and integrate fully with their communities and access a range of services across sectors designed to support the educational development of their students. It should be supported by three key pillars: ensuring access to quality teachers; providing use of quality learning tools and professional development; and the establishment of safe and supportive quality learning environments.The statement also describes the current state of education in the world and calls on educators to promote a whole child approach to education:

The statement also describes the current state of education in the world and calls on educators to promote a whole child approach to education:The SDGs reflect a global consensus in our young century that education is a human right and a public good that is critical to the health and future of the world. But ours is a world of severe challenges, with millions of students under fire, unsettled and unschooled due to conflict and governments globally failing to meet their funding commitments to education, especially with regard to their poorest citizens. Education advocates have a responsibility to promote policies that integrate schools, communities, and nations into a system that supports development of the whole child, ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

The SDGs reflect a global consensus in our young century that education is a human right and a public good that is critical to the health and future of the world. But ours is a world of severe challenges, with millions of students under fire, unsettled and unschooled due to conflict and governments globally failing to meet their funding commitments to education, especially with regard to their poorest citizens. Education advocates have a responsibility to promote policies that integrate schools, communities, and nations into a system that supports development of the whole child, ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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