Of the many stressful aspects of divorce, making new arrangements for children can become one of the most difficult. A warm Michigan home can seem to transform into a battleground between family members overnight. Younger children may not even understand the entire situation, which can inevitably make matters more challenging. Some may react to news of divorce in destructive ways, while others can become withdrawn and hard to conversate with.
These behavioral issues can take their toll, but at the end of the day, millions of families deal with these problems and have found varying ways to cope and move forward in a new life chapter. Although some ex-spouses may disgree on the best path for their children, the top priority is wellbeing and a peace of mind for everyone involved.
It is often easy to disregard small changes among children when adult issues have not yet received attention. Psych Central, a resource for mental health awareness and education, shares tips on how to better spot behavioral issues among children after divorce. For instance, most children have a tendency to identify with their same-sex parent; a parent's negative comments toward an ex-spouse can influence children to side further with only one parent instead of both. Another common issue, according to Psych Central, is that many children attempt to "fill in the gaps," or stand in and try to discipline younger siblings when the other parent is absent.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology recognizes the common problems children experience when going through this tough time. In an article on coping with divorce, the AACAP reminds parents that a divorce can, above all else, threaten a child's sense of security. Some children believe that they are the root cause of the divorce altogether. To better manage these natural reactions, the AACAP notes that it is important to tell a child about the divorce with both parents present, if possible. The AACAP also urges parents to resist confiding in or sharing too much information about the divorce with their children. There are many ways to handle a behavioral issue at home, but when divorce is involved, consistency and communication are major steps toward solutions.