Children of divorce are more likely to deal with certain problems than children who live in stable families. Some of the problems that you may see arise include behavior issues, poor academic performance and sudden risk-taking behaviors.
As a parent, seeing these changes can be scary, frustrating and upsetting. Fortunately, you can help your child by addressing their concerns and making sure they know that you are there for them. Here are a few things to consider about the three common problems children face following divorce.
- Behavior problems
Behavior issues are among the most common issues parents see from their children after divorce. There could be several reasons for those issues. Children who are young may not know how to express their unhappiness or dissatisfaction. They may scream, throw tantrums or hit in response. Similarly, older children may develop adjustment disorders and become depressed, anxious or withdrawn.
In either case, showing your support, talking through their concerns and being present will help. If the issues continue, then consider working with a children’s therapist.
- Poor performance at school
Another big issue could be that your child starts to get bad grades or skip their homework. This kind of poor performance is upsetting but expected. Children who aren’t sleeping well at night, who haven’t adjusted to a new routine or who are angry or hurt may lash out or become distracted. Make sure you talk to your child about their schoolwork, take time to sit with them to do it if you need to and focus on making sure they are eating and sleeping well.
- Risk-taking behaviors
Along with adjustment disorders, children may develop risk-taking behaviors. Some do this to get attention because they know that if they are hurt or do something negative, both parents will respond. Others may simply be distressed, depressed or anxious, so they start making bad choices that they would not normally consider.
Children face these issues more often when their parents are not present or not committed to helping them adjust to this new living arrangement. Be patient and be prepared to help your child as they adjust. If you need help, then options like children’s therapy or making adjustments to the custody schedule may resolve some issues.