Why does children's behavior after divorce become difficult?

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Answered by: Cathryn, An Expert in the Children and Divorce Category
When you fall or burn yourself you naturally yell, "Ouch that hurt!". Or when you get lost at night while driving you become afraid and you take deep breaths to calm yourself because you understand you are scared. As adults we can often take for granted the fact that we are able to communicate what we are feeling. It would be natural to assume that our children should be able to do this as well.

Unfortunately, most children are still struggling with just learning to speak and spell words. Now that you have noticed a change in the way your child has been acting towards you since you went through a recent divorce it may seem hard to comprehend as a parent what to do. And you begin to ask yourself what is causing this? Let's see if we can explore the reasons children's behavior after divorce is so difficult.

At first you may be able to understand your child's feelings; they are simply insecure and want both mom and dad to stay together. Perhaps you may have even sat down with your son or daughter and explained that you and (daddy or mommy) no longer love each other and that you can not live together. And in this terrible and upsetting time you are doing what any parent would attempt to do; you are trying to put everything "back to normal". But you ask yourself why is my child so suddenly withdrawn and and won't laugh or play anymore? Or why is he, she always angry and no longer listens to what you are saying.

Or you may wonder why your child used to be so good in school and is now fighting with the other children and constantly in trouble? Take heart, and remember that these are behaviors to be expected. Children only understand that they are both a part of mom and dad and once they begin to understand split they are no longer in unison they are hit with overwhelming emotions. In fact emotions so strong that even our teenagers struggle with extensively. The question then becomes how can we help the children's behavior after divorce to return to normal?

Just as we experience feelings and emotions surrounding changes in our life, children do as well. Just as those circumstances that have affected us, they affect our children as well. Speaking of children from ages 2 on up to 10, developmentally they are at different stages in their language skills.

If a child seems to be ignoring you, as in "not listening", for example, when the child listened to you very well before you went through this divorce but now throws a tantrum when you speak or runs in his or her room and slams the door. Easily, the child is feeling something that he (she) is not being able to express to you through words and naturally withdraws from an interaction. This inability for the child to express his or her feelings towards you either verbally or with the written word are the result of what he or she is experiencing since you and your spouse have divorced.

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