Whether your child is in elementary school or is an adolescent in high school, they may experience the same emotional roller coaster that parents do when their family is going through a divorce. No matter how amicable or peaceful the decision to separate may be between parents, no one in the family journeys through the divorce process entirely unaffected. If your child is exhibiting certain signs, he or she may be having difficulty with the divorce. As a parent, it is important not to ignore these behaviors and instead address them head-on in order to maintain a healthy relationship with your child.
Recognizing When Your Child Is Having Trouble Coping
While studies show that civil, respectful relationships between divorced spouses can help support healthy healing for children of divorce, the emotional impact of the breaking of the family unit is still hurtful. Trouble coping is natural and to be expected in the midst of a family divorce, but if you notice any of the following changes in your child’s life on a day-to-day basis, it may be a sign that they are having an especially hard time adjusting to the change:
Problems at school – Extreme behavioral changes, particularly when they are sudden, often signal emotional distress. Young children and adolescents alike may exhibit abrupt mood changes during class, on the playground, or while interacting with their peers. Perhaps their social circles have changed, or you notice you are receiving more calls or reports from teachers about your child’s behavior or grades. The inability to concentrate is also a common indicator that a child is dealing with depression or anxiety. Whatever the case, when problems arise at school more than usual, it may be a call for help.
Sleep pattern changes – Another change that is worth your attention is any difference in your child’s sleep patterns. Disturbances at nighttime, too much sleep, wetting the bed, or ongoing nightmares can all be signs of anxiety flare-ups and emotional pain. Young children may make comments to you about trouble sleeping, or you may notice your adolescent sleeping more than normal, or in sporadic intervals. Nightmares and phobias are particularly common for younger children, and they will often describe the dreams to you in vivid detail. Listening to these details is key to catching a glimpse of what they are experiencing throughout the divorce process.
Withdrawal and isolation – Tendency to isolate is another red flag for children of divorce, and withdrawing physically from family and friends by spending more time alone is not the only way children escape. They may also exhibit these symptoms by avoiding school, spending excessive amounts of time online, or playing video games. These types of social and emotional changes are all forms of mental disengagement and are a sign that your child may be having a hard time talking about or processing what is going on at home during the divorce.
Contact a DuPage County Child Parenting Time Attorney
Parenting is never easy, especially under stress-inducing circumstances such as those surrounding divorce in the family. If you are beginning to notice changes in your child as you move forward with divorce proceedings, you are not alone. Parents can minimize some of the stress brought on by divorce by keeping the lines of communication open, allowing their child to spend time with his or her other parent, and by remaining civil in their interactions with each other. If communication is tense between you and your spouse, you can encourage a smoother, less toxic divorce process by enlisting the help of a skilled, Lombard, IL divorce lawyer. Schedule a personal consultation today with A. Traub & Associates by calling our office at 630-426-0196.