If peers matter more than parents do, as Judith Rich Harris argues in The Nurture Assumption, then why do children during divorce typically struggle academically, socially, and developmentally?
The truth is that kids do tend to fall behind during and right after a divorce. But this decline in performance and in emotional resilience doesn’t last, in the vast majority of cases. After three years, children of divorce are just as well-adjusted socially and emotionally as their peers. For most kids, divorce does not leave permanent marks or emotional scars.
That may seem surprising – potentially even shocking. But that’s what the science tells us.
This doesn’t mean you should neglect your kids during the transition. However, it does suggest that you want to be mindful of how your kids are getting along with other kids at school. Are they being bullied? Are they being left behind in class, because they’re being distracted by the divorce? Try to ensure that their school lives are as normal as possible. Be watchful. Listen carefully to what your kids say about school, and make sure to maintain open lines of communication with teachers.
If you notice that “bad kids” are hanging around with your children, do what you can, within your power, to limit those kids’ access to your children. In extreme circumstance – such as chronic bullying – you may even consider moving to allow your children to have a fresh start and enjoy better peer relationships.
For help with all legal aspects of your divorce or child custody situation, call the Toussaint Law Firm, PC today for a confidential private evaluation of your case.