Daniel: The Impact of an Unstable Home on Child Development

Student Testimony

My name is Daniel.  I am a 9th grader who attends Aseltine School.

These are things I learned at Aseltine.  I learned how to respect and treat people. I learned that if you do something, something will happen in return—it always does—good or bad.

When I first came to Aseltine—I thought this was a special school–special meaning not good.  I was waiting for staff to talk to me like I was an idiot and that the other kids were going to act out of control—I expected this because this was my experience of school since the 4th grade.

At my other schools, I used to get into trouble.  I would get into fights and bully other students.  And once I messed up–I would be sent to the office and stay there all year except to get lunch—I was that kid.  The one that no one could be around who sat in the office, the one they expected to be bad.

But at Aseltine—they treat you as an equal—they listen and try to understand where you come from–even if the staff doesn’t agree with you—they try to see your point of view instead of saying you’re wrong or bad.  At Aseltine, they try to get to know you on a more personal level…beyond school.  For example, if you are mad the teacher and get kicked out…they don’t start telling you how you are wrong and go through the list of what you should do…At Aseltine—they try to find out what is going on—they try to understand the “why”–if it is a home issue or if you are just having a bad day… and then offer other solutions…

At Aseltine, the staff don’t talk to you like a student, that’s the easy thing to do—instead, they take it further than that–they talk to you like you are family—not just telling you what to do…but being honest too…

At Aseltine, I am no longer that kid who sits in the office by himself—that kid no one wants to be around.  The kid that they always expected to be bad.  I am now part of a community.

At Aseltine, I can be comfortable to tell people what’s on my mind because no one is better than anyone else.  No one is judging me for what I say or who I am or what I think. 

At Aseltine—I learned that I can do better…I can be more than that kid in the office—even when I didn’t see it for myself at first.

I hope I can fulfill what people see in me and be better…and make them proud for believing in me and for helping me believe in myself.

Learn more about how instability in the home environment can impact child development

Past research suggests that children who experience multiple transitions in family structure may face worse developmental outcomes than children raised in stable two-parent families and perhaps even children raised in stable, single-parent families. However, multiple transitions and negative child outcomes may be associated because of common causal factors such as parents’ antecedent behaviors and attributes. A growing body of literature suggests that children who experience multiple transitions in family structure may fare worse developmentally than children raised in stable two-parent families and perhaps even than children raised in stable, single-parent families.


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