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Five Ways Your Children May Act Out During or After Your Divorce

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The break up of a marriage and the process of going through a divorce is stressful for everyone involved. Children in particular can have difficulties in adjusting to all the changes, both in the family unit itself and in their new living situation.

Before, during, and after divorce proceedings, it is not uncommon for children to ‘act out’ in certain ways in response to the stress around them. Understanding that certain behaviors are to be expected and knowing how to handle them can help you and your children adjust and grow through the ordeal.

Children and Divorce

Divorce presents a massive overhaul in a child’s life. No matter how much parents try to shield them, children cannot help but be impacted by what they are seeing and experiencing. Psychology Today reports that even in otherwise amicable divorce cases, children often face emotional fall out as a result of the following:

  • Witnessing the loss of love and companionship between their parents;
  • Accepting that their parents made a vow which they are now breaking;
  • Making the adjustment between living in two different households;
  • Dealing with the absence of one of their parents on outings, trips and special occasions;
  • Experiencing significant change or loss in what were once family traditions.

The report states that divorce is what is known as a watershed event, meaning that the child’s life is significantly changed from what it was before, so it is unreasonable to not expect them to have some trouble adjusting.

Five Common Behavioral Changes After Divorce

Psych Central advises that there are common behaviors children often use to cope with the changes that result from divorce. These include:

  • Reverting to prior childish behaviors, such as bedwetting, thumb sucking, or being afraid of the dark.
  • Identifying and ‘taking sides’ with their same sex parent, and mimicking their behaviors and attitudes towards the other parent.
  • Secretly identifying with the opposite sex parent and taking pride in understanding them or getting along with them better than the other parent does.
  • Filling in the gaps left by whichever parent is not present, such as mothering or trying to discipline younger children.
  • Either rejecting the parent they see as responsible for the breakup of the marriage, or attempting to justify or excuse the parent’s bad behavior.

In any of these situations, it is important for parents to realize that these are coping mechanisms. They often represent a temporary phase that will change over time and in the face of the realities of the situation. You can help ease the process by openly and nonjudgmentally talking with your child about their feelings, while honoring the loyalty and love they feel for your ex-spouse, even if they are not always comfortable expressing it.

We Can Help You Today

When you need help in dealing with divorce and other family law related matters, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC . Our experienced Florida divorce attorney understands the impacts divorce can have on your family and can help guide you towards parenting plans and timesharing arrangements that are in both you and your child’s best interests.

Resources:

psychcentral.com/lib/kids-and-divorce-ten-tough-issues/

psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201112/the-impact-divorce-young-children-and-adolescents