Almost one out of two marriages in the United States ends in divorce (Berns, 2015, p. 93). This high rate of divorce potentially places many young children and their parents in need of support. In Week 2, you read about some of the changes and challenges that divorce can bring to families. This week, you will focus on the role of an early childhood professional in helping young children and families who are experiencing separation and divorce.
Action Plan Professional Scenario: Imagine that you are working in an early childhood setting and in the same year, three families are going through divorces. You are committed to supporting each family as much as possible and so decide to research the impact of this experience on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in order to help all adults involved better understand what the children and families are going through. You also want to help each of the families and others you will work with diminish the negative emotional and behavioral effects on young children that divorce can bring. Your initial research underscores the complexity of divorce and family situations, noting that some children may do better following a separation and divorce than children in a household that is rife with conflict. You remind yourself to keep an open mind as you continue research and form your Action Plan.
As you put your Action Plan together, consider:
What adults who work with young children need to know in order to understand the needs of children at different ages and stages who are experiencing separation and divorce
What ideas and advice from experts can be useful in assisting young children and families dealing with divorce
What an early childhood profession can do to help both directly, by offering information and suggestions, and by referring the family to other community resources and professionals.
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