During a divorce, children sometimes experience behavioral issues due to the trauma associated with the divorce. These issues vary according to age, personality, and many factors. You can lessen the trauma your children experience by working with your ex-spouse on these issues and forming a united front for the kids.
Loss of Trust
Even though parents mean well, they are, after all, human. They live their lives the best that they can, and sometimes their decisions affect their kids in a bad way. For some kids, depending on the way the parents act, divorce can cause them to stop trusting other people and even affect them into adulthood, blocking their ability to bond with others long term.
This can be a problem for younger children who often experience leaving their home and “visiting” each parent. Often parents trade off weeks or every other weekend. Whatever the parents choose, it may be hard at first for the child to leave home to see the other parent. Try to be sensitive to it but keep doing it, because even though the child is suffering they still need both parents.
Fear, Anger, and Depression
For some children, the feelings they have are excruciating. They feel like the carpet has been taken out from under them. They feel scared about their lives and scared that something will happen to their parents, and the fear and anger can lead to depression. Acknowledge your child’s feelings because even though you think it’s about you, it’s also about their lives – and they have no choice here.
Most children, even if they are now adults, will start to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. Keep in mind that they probably blamed themselves for your fights during your marriage too. The best thing to do is to make sure you tell your children that your marriage is about you and not about them at all, and that both parents will always love them.
Some children start finding it hard to focus and concentrate, which then causes them to get worse grades. This can be exacerbated by an inexperienced parent now taking their time equally without realizing how much they need to help their child through school. Bring the teacher in on the situation so that they can help notice issues earlier rather than later.
For some children, it all becomes so much for them that they start to skip school and may even decide to drop out. Most states allow 16-year olds to drop out of school without parental approval. Keep an eye on your older kids so that you know for sure they’re okay. Open the lines of communication with your kids early to help them through this time.
Acting Out Inappropriately
The fear, anger, sadness, and depression can also lead to impulsive behavior that causes them to make poor choices. Remember that a person’s frontal lobes don’t close until well into their 20s. Asking a kid to deal with adult choices is hard for their brain to take. Some react by acting out and being disruptive to others or harming themselves.
Conflict with Peers
Some kids will bring their home life into their friend life. Their attitude gets down, and then the kids start noticing. While other kids don’t know what is happening, they tend to react badly and bullying behavior can occur.
While you aren’t going to be able to stop your children from experiencing consequences, you can ensure that most of them are minor. In many cases, if parents work together, children can thrive during divorce and experience very few behavior issues. You just need to stay on top of it and get help when you need it.