10 significant causes of early marriage
The rate at which children get married these days is really alarming. Most countries have no legal rule to protect children from early marriage. For this reason, so many kids are shipped off to an early marriage before they even experience puberty.
The legal age placed on marriage was done for a reason, the set legal age for marriage in so many countries is about 18years. At 18 the individual has experienced puberty for at least 4-5 years. Depending on the physiologic functioning of the individual’s body.
A child of 11- 17 barely understands the working of their body or how to take care of themselves, they have a lot going on in their life at this stage. Why then should a child of this age-grade be subjected to marriage?
Marriage is a lifetime commitment that should be made by willing and fully matured individuals. Children shouldn’t be sent off to marriage as a means to settle long-time family feud or pay off debts.
Children/ teens are still learning new stuff about their body and life generally hence they shouldn’t be whisked off into a system that they do not understand.
Early/child marriage is a complete violation of the right of a child. You are taking the freedom of the child due to your influence on them as a parent or guardian.
There are so many negative effects associated with early marriage. They include;
- Mental issues
- Health challenges
- Domestic violence
A lot of children exposed to child marriages have experienced so much hurt and pain. According to Wikipedia early marriage is more prevalent among the girl child. Quite a number of parents tend to marry their female children off in order to obtain bride price(dowry).
Children should not be sold off as a source of income. They are given to us to be loved, cared for, and provided for not sold off as an item in the market.
Early marriage is on a high rise in African and Asia, A statistics collected in 2018 by UNICEF show that over 20% of girls aged 20-24 were married off when they were children. The study further showed that about 12 million girls below 18 are married off annually.
Causes of early marriage
This is one of the major determinants of child marriage across the globe. The rate of poverty in most developing countries is alarming. As a means of survival, most parents ship off their daughters to make end means.
This might sound funny or crazy but it actually happens, people give their girl child away for marriages as a means of survival. In some areas in Africa, a man that has a lot of female children is regarded as a wealthy man.
Female children are commonized and seen as a tool of exchange to get money. In cases of extreme poverty female children are seen as a burden. And what do you do to a burden? You check if it is of any beneficial value then you sell it off.
In certain parts of the world, training a girl is considered a waste of money and resources. It is also considered taboo in other parts of the world. As archaic as this sounds a lot of girls are victims of this in the 21st century.
Most times parents arrange marriages for their daughters to a wealthy family. Most times the man might be thrice their daughter age. However, they believe they are securing their daughter’s future by marrying her into a wealthy family.
Poverty has led many female children to become mothers at 13-16 years. A lot of girls are victims of this misfortune, some of them survive this early marriage and actually get to live in financial security.
Others die during childbirth or suffer from different forms of maltreatment or the supposed husband dies shortly after marriage thereby living the girl to suffer alone by raising their kids all by herself. In some cases, the woman will start prostitution to source for help or exposing her female children to such activities for the upkeep of the family
Fear has led a lot of parents to sell their children into a disastrous early marriage that has damaged them physically and mentally.
Some parents are afraid that their daughters may never get married or will probably not meet some responsible. Hence, they take up the responsibility of searching for a partner for their daughter before she attains the marriageable age.
Another limiting belief that causes some parents to get scared is the fact that their daughters may not find anyone when they get to a marriageable age.
They feel like suitors will see their daughters as old or not beautiful enough. Hence the need to search for a partner for them while they are younger.
The fear of rape is another reason that leads parents to marry off their daughters early. There are some traditions that stigmatize a young lady that was raped. In order to prevent this from happening some parents whisk off their girl child into an early marriage.
Most parents want to marry off their daughters as virgins. They believe that if their female child is allowed to attain adulthood outside her husband’s house, she might engage in illicit behaviors.
The fear that a girl might fall in love with someone and elope is also another driving force that fosters child marriage.
These fears contribute to the rate at which so many parents marry off their daughters at a very early age. Parents are supposed to let their children grow gradually as they supposed to, don’t decide for them, they have their own destiny to fulfill.
Because they came through you does not give you the power to ruin their life by pushing them too early marriage against their wish. Give your children proper training that will guide them through and help them to do proper decisions in life when the time arises. Most destinies are killed through this early marriage.
I understand that we all have our beliefs and opinions. However, I’m not sorry to say that some beliefs are very limiting and backward.
How exactly does an early marriage serve as a means of protection for your child? Please do explain this concept to me in the comment section.
This is easily the lamest thing I have heard this year!! Protection? From what exactly?
It’s really hard and disheartening to believe that millions of girls are living with the consequences of early marriage. Just because their parent saw it as means of protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
Have you for one moment sat back to wonder if the person you are selling your daughter to has multiple sexual partners.
What If he is already infected? How can you be deceived by outward appearance!
Early marriage does not offer protection to your child in any way. You can easily be handing over your child to a “living-walking bag of disease” You cannot be sure of your child’s safety especially when no medical test was carried out.
- Culture and Religion.
There are so many cultures in total support of child marriage. The only limitations to religion and culture are parental consent. As long as the child’s parents are in support of the marriage. There is no hindrance from these cultures or religions.
Cultures and religions are rules that govern the masses. Since they do not oppose child marriage the perpetrators see no wrong in it. Most people obey their faith and traditions more than the constitution.
If their culture sees nothing wrong with a 76-year-old man getting married to a 10-year girl then they accept this too.
A lot of time people appraise their religion more than their morals and conscience. Hence, they put their religion and traditions before their conscience or morals.
- Higher bride price
The younger the bride the higher the bride price, this is the unspoken rule in different parts of the world. Since the parents see their female children as an item for sale. They do not want to lose their profit. Hence, they marry the girls out at a younger age in order to get more money.
Parents have itemized their children; children are now used as a bargaining chip. The feelings or rights of the child are not considered as long as it brings more money.
Female children are sold to the highest bidder, the whole concept of marriage has been destroyed. Children are no longer protected by the ones they call father or mother rather they are sold to just anyone for extra money.
Money collected from the bride price will not solve your problem. Try to consider the happiness of your under-age daughter and the danger you are exposing them to.
Most female children have become punching bags in their marriage because the man expects them to start thinking maturely.
They forget that she’s still a baby and needs to be treated like one.
- Early pregnancy
A lot of teens have fallen victim to this particular incidence. It is like a blessing in disguise, an unexpected event that can change the course of your life forever.
Most families cannot tolerate the fact that their child got pregnant out of wedlock. Hence, they search for a means to protect the family’s name and honor. One of the oldest and popular means used is marrying the girl off to an older man at a cheaper rate.
In our present society, being a single mom is no longer a strange concept. However, this doesn’t change the fact that some parents still follow the old ways of doing things.
A lot of teens who are not ready for marriage have been subjected to it by parents who feel embarrassed. Nowadays unexpected pregnancy can be handled in a more pragmatic and logical way.
The title of “baby mama” and “baby daddy” is now attributed to co-parents who didn’t get married. Child support is issued and both parents do their best to provide for their child.
No girl should be forced into wedlock because she is pregnant. The mistake has already been made. Forcing her to get married will be an even bigger mistake that could have been avoided.
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure influences so many areas of life, especially among teens. Your child of 14-17 can start talking so much about getting married because a friend of hers got married.
This is absolutely normal; it is your duty as a parent to explain that marriage is more than a fairytale.
A friend of mine was desperate to get married when we were growing up. This made her not set standards for herself as to the type of person she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
She was okay with any man that came around her, she got used and dump. When you are very insecure in your relationship, men can sense it and most of them take advantage of it.
The last heartbreak she felt was when she got a husband abroad, she held onto him tightly because she didn’t want to lose him. One day after spending the weekend in a hotel he left and she never heard anything from him again.
When confronted, she said, “she is the first daughter in her family and all her mate have gotten married”. Some people are lucky enough to marry early while others later, don’t look at your peers and make mistakes you will regret for the rest of your life. God’s time is the best.
And parents don’t shush your children or reprimand them, be happy that they brought this sensitive matter to you. As much as you can try to explain to them the reasons, they need to grow older before getting married.
If you speak to them in anger, you might chase them to another source, this wrong source might give them really bad advice. If proper care is not taken your child may end up as a young teenage mother.
- Acclaimed love
Most teenagers don’t understand what it means to love someone. According to Gary Chapman the author of the five love languages. There is a difference between being in love and actually loving someone.
I have seen a case of a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl that wanted to get married. They claimed that they loved each other and cannot live without themselves.
Their parents were wise enough to handle the matter maturely. They allowed them to date and taught them about marriage.
The kids were allowed to date till they were both 18 and 19 respectively before they get married. They loved the idea and decided to wait; however, the boy fell in love with someone else when he turned 18.
He told his 16-year-old lover that she is a child!! Quite a hilarious story.
Most kids experience this butterfly feeling when they are treated specially by someone. It starts with a crush and on rare occasions, it leads to love and marriage.
As parents, it is our duty to coach our children and prevents them from making marital errors.
- Gender inequality
Despite the rise in femineity, most females are still treated as the inferior gender.
A woman’s duty after birth is to serve as a means of bride’s price in some traditions. Hence immediately she is 12 she is shipped off to perform her duty.
This pattern of thinking is archaic and should be shipped off the surface of the earth. Female children are strong, smart, creative, and hardworking. A girl child should be given the same privileges as her male sibling.
If females are only met for marriage, what happens to the vast majority that is doing well in our society without a man. If a girl child chose to stay single it is her choice and it should be respected by everyone.
- Lack of education
“Educate a woman educate a generation” is a saying that is said by many but understood by a handful.
At 13 a female child should be in secondary school acquiring more advanced information. Not on a path to be shipped off for marriage.
No parent training their female child will be so focused on marriage. Instead, they will be seeking for their child to do well in school and advance to the next level.
Education doesn’t always have to be in the four walls of the school. If she has learned the basics then you can send her to learn a skill.
Teach your female child to be independent, don’t train them to be looking for the next wealthy man to marry them.
We live in an ever-advancing world, it is important that we stay updated. The negative effects of early marriages surmount the positive effect. Why put your child in danger just for money or other archaic beliefs?
Parental consent is a driving force in almost all listed causes of early marriage. Don’t be a parent that ships their child off for money. Teach your kids to be strong, smart, teachable, and courageous.
What’s your take on early marriages? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section.