Your divorce may cause uncertainty and anxiety for your children. Significant changes that may include relocation could replace normalcy with new experiences that cause discomfort and fear.
Your children will respond differently based on their ages, maturity and personality among other factors. Understanding why they may act out can help you prepare to intervene and provide support and unconditional love during an uncertain time.
Identifying the problem
Behavioral problems can include aggression, inattention, defiance, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Your children may have never dealt with so many changes at once and their idea of coping may lack the rationality of an older, more experienced adult. According to healthychildren.org, your children may feel a variety of strong emotions including relief, shock, anger and sadness. If they sense the tension between you and your spouse, they may feel the stress, uncertainty and angst that both of you feel.
Behavioral issues can lead to worsening problems including trouble in school, difficulty socializing, criminal activity and lifelong emotional disorders. Recognizing the symptoms and intervening right away can help you reduce the risks of such problems and show your children that you want to support their path to healing.
Correcting the behavior
Navigating behavioral problems will require patience, commitment and empathy on your part. Some of the things you can do to provide support and reassurance to your children include the following:
- Prioritize activity, exercise and physical movement
- Collaborate with your spouse to allow your children to maintain a relationship with both parents
- Maintain an optimistic perspective and help your children to accentuate the positive
- Facilitate self-care including healthy eating and proper sleep
- Encourage open communication and listen intently to your children’s concerns
You may also implement therapy to help your children learn coping skills. With the help of a professional, they may learn valuable ways to manage triggers and respond to strong emotions in a healthy and productive way.