Divorce rate lowest since 1976... Are we to thank?

Our generation is one of those where it is almost as common to be divorced as still married. We rushed into things, we were young, we had social expectations placed on our shoulders and faced the pressures of having a family and raising children all our lives. And sadly, this lead our relationships, that often seemed perfect on the outside, to crack. So we faced divorce. But has our own experience made us wonderful teachers? The generation of our children seem to have learnt from our mistakes so does that mean we’ve done our job as parents, as teachers and as support systems and we’ve actually done a good job? The numbers sure do suggest it!

According to the Sydney Morning Herald based on statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the following are the facts on divorce and marriage in Australia:

  • Average age at first marriage in 1977 is 22.6
  • Average age at first marriage in 2010 is 29.1

It shows that we’ve taught our children maturity and not to rush. Two things that we, arguably, didn’t do when we were going through the same time in our lives.

It also suggests that our children are having children later than we did and this means they are equipped with extra maturity when they face one of the most challenging times in their lives. Fewer than half of the divorces today actually involve young children – also a post 1976 low so this may shed some light to the reasons why divorce is happening today.

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It isn’t about struggling as a family unit, it isn’t about neglecting children or not errant parenting. It is truly about the breakdown of a relationship between two people for whatever reasons.

Right now, the divorce per 1000 people rate is at just 2.1 – a pretty small figure however the Social Services Minister, Mr Kevin Andrews has said he would like to get it lower. For a long time we considered the divorce rate skyrocketing because society simply didn’t care anymore and we coined the generations below ours, the “disposable society”. But if we take a good look at ourselves, it is sadly us who endured it all. It is us who went through this.

But the thing to know is, we taught the other generations how to make it work. Or at least they have learn from our mistakes. And for that, I think we deserve a pat on the back.

Tell us, have you been divorced? When did it happen? How have your children’s relationships worked out? Can you see a trend?