What behaviors can you expect in your child when you divorce?

When you separate from your spouse, it is going to have an effect on your child. They will have to deal with moving between two homes, spending holidays away from one of you and the idea of their parents potentially dating other people.

You may want to be prepared for the coming changes in their behavior. Every child will react differently to these changes-but there are some things you should expect and be ready for.

The risk of mental health issues goes up

The loss of control and sense of normalcy that children experience in divorce may manifest in their mental health. Rates of depression and anxiety increase in children of all ages, genders and cultures when their parents separate.

Your child may experience these issues for just a few months after your divorce as they adjust. But children of divorced parents are also more likely to develop lasting psychological problems.

It can negatively impact performance in school

Divorce can also affect your child academically. Students from divorced families score lower on average on standardized tests. On top of lower test scores, divorcing also makes your child more likely to skip school or even drop out entirely.

Acting out is more common

Your child may not feel like they can express their feelings openly-or perhaps they don't know how to. Children of divorce tend to externalize their feelings and express themselves through their actions. This may take the form of mouthing off to you or getting into fights at school.

More serious behavioral problems-such as delinquency and substance abuse-may come up as well.

It can be challenging to predict how your child will react to your divorce. Knowing what issues can arise may make it easier to help them. Monitoring their behavior can help you handle these problems before they get out of hand.

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