Any honest person will admit that marriage can be difficult; having a child with special needs can often increase the number of challenges a marriage will face. But does having a family that includes a child with a disability automatically mean a marriage will face hard times? Let’s explore that question.
Can having a son or daughter with a disability increase a marriage’s risk of divorce?
Both having a special needs child and being married are by themselves two challenging things. Together they can make life stressful, pure and simple. In fact, parents who have a child with ADHD are “twice as likely to divorce by the time the child is eight years old.” Why?
The above statistic was compiled by researchers at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York. The researchers concluded that there were two reasons for the marital stress of parents with children who have ADHD; those reasons include:
1. A family is already in strife
2. A child with a disability displays “disruptive behaviour”
According to research, it is these two factors combined that can put a marriage at risk for divorce. But what is the flip side to having a child with a disability? Can it bring parents closer together?
In a recent Canadian study, 18 percent of parents with a child having a disability claimed “the child’s condition made them closer.”
What if a child’s disability could bring a couple closer? For 18 percent of Canadian parents with a disabled child (from a 2006 survey), this is true. In particular, it has been reported that parents of autistic children have a stronger marriage as a result of the struggles they face.
Having a special needs child doesn’t have to equal disaster for a marriage.
The first few years of the onset of a child’s disability is hard, both on the child and the parents. But its fascinating to discover that after a child has his or her eighth birthday, “There was no difference in divorce rates” (this was determined by the University of Buffalo researchers). Could it be that the first several years of a disabled child’s life are the most difficult on a marriage?
Do you have a special needs child? How has it affected your marriage?
Leave a comment on this post telling us how having a special needs child has affected your marriage in both positive and negative ways.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
The research from the University of Buffalo suggests that the first several years of a disabled child’s can be quite tough on a marriage. Do you agree?
How specifically has having a child with special needs strained your marriage? How has it strengthened it?