Divorces are rarely easy for children. Kids are especially vulnerable to mental, emotional, and behavioral issues that may be caused by a divorce. However, children are seldom effective communicators, and they may not even understand why they are upset. Instead, you, as a parent, need to keep an eye out for signs that your child is not coping well with your divorce. Red flags of this type of struggle may include the following actions or behaviors.
1. School or Social Behavior Changes
Changes in how your child is acting at school or around his or her peers can indicate problems associated with their altered family life. Kids spend a lot of time at school, so teachers and school administration may notice changes in your child’s behavior before you do. Sudden changes in study habits, decreased interest in sports or extracurricular activities, or withdrawal from usual social groups can all be signs of a more significant problem.
2. Signs of Extreme Stress
Children exhibit symptoms of stress in much the same way that adults do. For example, changes in sleeping patterns or loss of appetite may be the result of the pressures associated with divorce. Older children may intentionally make changes in their appearance or habits. This may be a way to cope with the divorce, or it could be a means for the child to ask for help from their parent without discussing the issues outright.
3. Anxiety Signals
Sometimes you can just tell if your child is anxious or upset. While these behaviors are a normal part of most children’s lives, anxiety, aggression, or apathy could be a sign of something more serious. Increased problems with separation from parents, bedwetting, and other forms of developmental regression sometimes occur in children who are experiencing significant changes in their family situation.
4. Increased Instances of Acting Up or Arguing
Your child may respond to increased stress by acting out or arguing with you more. They may have anger and aggression that they cannot explain or control. Children upset with the situation may take out that anger on you for small things or nothing at all. Interactions with others may also be affected; your child may be involved in more physical altercations, for example.
5. Separation Anxiety
Your child may become clingy or exhibit signs of being scared to go to bed at night. Leaving your child at daycare or with a babysitter may become increasingly difficult. The child may also show increased signs of worry about your well-being or safety.
Communication with your child is essential. Allow your child to express his or her feelings, concerns, and worries. It is also vital that you be patient; children may not be able to explain how they are feeling and may not realize what is causing their issues. In some situations, it may be a good idea to seek professional counseling or encourage support groups for children their age. If you have questions about divorce in Utah, our team can help. Call 435-884-3426 today for more information.