When it comes to divorce in New York, there’s good news and bad news: The state has one of the lowest averages, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but regardless of where you are, divorce is stressful, particularly for the children.
In a study conducted by the University of Virginia in 2002, children of divorced parents experienced a variety of negative emotions such as anger, disbelief, anxiety, and shock. Meanwhile, multiple studies point out that children are more likely to suffer from poor academic performance and poverty due to reduced family income. They may also engage in substance abuse, become sexually active at a young age, and be incarcerated for juvenile crimes.
There’s no better way to break a marriage, but parents can do something to help the kids cope.
In Long Island, divorce mediation is one solution to getting a divorce with the least animosity between ex-partners. It creates peace and harmony within a tension-filled home, decreases conflict, and benefits children who may appreciate seeing their parents treat each other respectfully despite the pending separation.
During the divorce, it’s time to get all the help and love from friends and family, and channel them toward the children. Couples can also approach teachers, school counselors, and physicians who can help monitor the children’s reaction and level of stress during the separation. Child-oriented therapies, including group sessions, can provide an avenue for the children to discuss their negative thoughts and feelings.
Child specialist and clinical psychologist Joanne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D., recommends continuous manifestations of love even if the parents think their children don’t show signs of needing reassurance. At this critical time, kids have to feel that they still have a family, that they are not abandoned, and that they don’t have to choose between parents. These manifestations do not have to be grand, but they have to be consistent. These include hugging, kissing, and taking the time to play with them.
While divorce is one of the worst times for any family, it can also be a shining moment for couples who wish to teach their children that love and respect don’t have to die with the end of the marriage.