What to Do when Your Child Acts Out After a Divorce

A lot of things can happen after you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage. The most immediate impact can be seen in your household, and your children are not immune to this. They may not be old enough to understand the full weight of what has happened, but they know what they feel: hurt. And when children are hurt, they act out.

Here’s how parents can cope with a children’s behavioral change after the divorce:

Discuss Family Relationships

You and your former spouse need to come together for your child’s needs. You may think it’s preposterous, as you want nothing more to do with them anymore, but the presence of your family lawyer can ease you into this. While your lawyer is there, you can discuss how the child’s needs factor into your life, especially if you are considering a new job outside of Kents and you want to take your child with you, but your former spouse will not allow it. This kind of disruption will likely reflect on your child’s grades and social interactions, so take those as a cue to figure out what will be best for their situation.

Follow Their Regular Schedule

child and mother

Your child is still learning how to navigate life, and having a regular schedule helps them see something constant. Your marriage used to be constant–safe, even–but that was taken away from your child, and so they may develop some trust issues and retreat into their shell. You may want to give them a wide berth when they want to miss practice after school, but encouraging them to withdraw from the world will only add to your problems later on. They may not like that you force them to do better for school and extracurriculars, but everything will pay off when you see them thriving again.

Give Them Time

If the divorce is still fresh, you may still feel the pain from it and dealing with all the change can be stressful. You’re not the only one who feels that stress. Your children will also feel the impact of that divorce on their life, and the last thing you want is to take out your pain on them. It’s okay for you to take some time for yourself and to let your child do the same. Even better, spend time together so that both of you can support each other during this difficult time.

Keep Communication Lines Open

The person who used to be your spouse but has hurt you may become a villain in the household if you tell the children all sorts of bad things about them. This will not help your child get over the divorce, and this might backfire and turn you into the bad guy because you are the one saying all the negative things. This also fuels your child’s act up. They may think their reaction is reasonable and you cannot do anything about it. Try not to fall into the trap of parent alienation and instead, let your child stay connected with their other parent who, no matter what happens, is still their parent.

You don’t think it’s easy to get over a divorce, so don’t expect your child to get over it easily too. Use their act up as a chance to tell them they are loved.

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