The divorce process can be messy, confusing, and emotional as can the moments that led up to it. It is common for everyone in the family, especially children, to feel the effects of a divorce. After all, a divorce often forces a child who was used to living under the same roof as both of his or her parents into adjusting their life to live in two different households.
While we know divorces can be challenging for children to go through, research also suggests that a divorce may even impact their academic performance. After a study was conducted involving 3,500 children “whose parents divorced between the first and third grade, data revealed that the children scored lower in math and had poorer interpersonal skills than those whose parents stayed married” [Source: ABC News]. In fact, studies have also been linked to “lower completion rates,” cites the source.
The moments that lead up to a divorce can also be tough on children as well. During this time, children also struggle as they watch their parents go through the motions that will eventually lead to them becoming permanently separated.
Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Yale University and director of Yale’s Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic in New Haven, CT, says that “It’s not like everything is going great and then all of a sudden there’s a divorce.” Kazdin says that “there might be marital conflict in the home, whether it’s deep tension or all-out screaming, and that can be very stressful for everyone, including children.” While both the divorce and the time before the process starts can impact a child and how they perform in school, once the divorce is finalized and one parent is “gone,” a child might even begin to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to Jay Reeve. Reeve, who is an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University and chief executive officer of the Apalachee Center Inc., says that kids might also begin to experience “withdrawal, unexplained tearfulness, and disruptions in sleep and appetite,” which can “signal anxiety.”
The reality is, it can be rather traumatic for a child to watch and listen to their parents argue and/or disagree as well as witness them spend time away from one another. Given the reaction they might have to this, it is understandable that a divorce could potentially affect how a child performs in school. Now, if you are going through a divorce in Nassau County, NY or recently had yours finalized, there are a few tips we’d like to share with you that come from Parents Magazine that may help your child as they transition from living in one household with both of their parents to living in two different homes.
- “Keep up with old routines and rituals.” Kazdin says that divorce can “feel like the end of the world for young kids,” so it is can be helpful for you to keep up with old routines and rituals so the transition is a little smoother for them.
- Let your child have a say. If you are moving into a new home, maybe because your spouse was awarded the house or the two of you decided to sell it, “involve your child in the furnishing and decorating of his or her new bedroom.” Perhaps you might let your child choose the color for the walls or the theme they would like to incorporate into their room.
- Make the new place familiar. “Too much newness or chance can be overwhelming to a child,” therefore, you might bring some familiar items into your new home so they feel a little more comfortable there. If you aren’t able to bring things from your former home, Parents Magazine recommends you try and find items that are similar to those they liked.
- Resist the urge to compete. If your child’s other parent moved into a new home and your child has expressed how pleased he or she was with it, the source cites that it is best that you don’t give your child’s room a makeover. According to William Doherty, Ph.D., director of the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, “the last thing your child needs at this point is more change.”
- Establish rules that will be followed in both households. When the same rules are set among both homes, “it helps to ensure that your child knows what is expected of him or her regardless of where [they] are living.” Parents Magazine shared a few rules you might want to incorporate into your own list which include:
- “Do not ask one parent for permission to do something that the other parent has already said no to.”
- “When at Dad’s house, follow his rules; when at Mom’s house, follow hers.”
- “Start homework within the first hour after school so that the family can enjoy the evening together.”
Now, if you live in Nassau County, NY and are in the initial stages of filing for divorce or you and your spouse recently decided that it was time to end your marriage, the Nassau County, NY divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of David L. Martin are here to help you get through this difficult time in your life. From filing legal documents with the court to helping you and your spouse agree on some of the most common issues that often arise in a divorce, we provide all the legal services you need to get your divorce finalized in a timely manner.
The Law Offices of David L. Martin is located at:
1415 Kellum Place, Suite 205
Garden City, NY 11430