How Do I Spot Behavioral Changes in Children During a Divorce?

Even when both parents agree that dissolution of marriage is in everyone's best interests, a divorce can be an emotionally traumatic experience for minor children. But when either or both parents demonstrate animosity toward one another, it can damage a child's development in ways that may not even be apparent for years to come. As a divorce lawyer serving clients in central Florida, I advise our family law clients who have children to seek the counseling service of a reputable child psychologist or licensed family counselor—even in cases where the children have not demonstrated any overt emotional or behavioral changes.

Signs of Emotional Change in Children Who are Going Through Divorce

It's important for parents to recognize the fact that divorce affects the entire family. Just as the divorcing spouses may have concerns about lodgings, finances, and the general directions of their lives, children may experience feelings of instability, which could make them respond in a variety of ways. How a child will react to divorce depends on a number of factors, including age, whether the child has siblings, his or her ability to understand why the divorce is occurring, and individual personality traits. For instance, an eight-year old and a fifteen-year old of the same parents may both have the ability to understand their parents' reasons for divorcing, but the younger child may react angrily, while the older one slides into depression. The following are some of the reactions that children who are going through a divorce may experience:

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Physical ailments, such as headaches, stomach aches, et cetera
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to sleep
  • Falling grades
  • Violent outbursts

Even if your child doesn't specifically demonstrate one of the above listed signs, any notable change in a child's behavior, demeanor, or actions is noteworthy and should be considered a warning. As a professional family law attorney, I will recommend availing yourself of the services provided by any number of qualified family counseling providers in central Florida. If that is not possible, try to educate yourself on the topic of behavioral changes in children during a divorce as much as possible.

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