Unfortunately, divorce is common in many households, but knowing that does not make it any easier on the children of divorce. No matter what your circumstances, divorce will affect your kids in some way. You will not know whether the divorce will cause your kids to show negative behaviors until you break the news. You can prepare yourself for a myriad of possibilities by arming yourself with information on the different issues your family’s breakup can have on your kids.
It may not happen right away, but according to MayoClinic.com, you might find the behavior of your toddler or preschooler beginning to regress. For example, if your child is 4 or 5 years old, she might start to wet the bed, carry her old blanket around with her, suck her thumb or ask for the pacifier that she has not used in years. She may start crying when you leave her, regardless of whether you leave her with her other parent, at school or with a trusted loved one.
You may find that the divorce has affected your child’s typically good behavior to the point that your son becomes an angry, hostile child, according to the Women and Children’s Health Network, a parenting site in Australia. For example, your mostly well-behaved son might start to get into trouble more frequently, and you might notice that his behavior is bad more often than not, solely from the divorce. He might develop an attitude problem, engage in back talk or get into fights with friends or loved ones. You might notice a significant, and negative, change in his grades or in his behavior at school.
Whether your child’s usual behavior is good or bad, she might become depressed, once she learns of your family’s breakup, advises MayoClinic.com. Some children do not turn outward and become angry; instead, they turn inward and become withdrawn. For example, your usually happy daughter might stop doing things she enjoys, she might stop spending time with you, and she might rarely visit friends. She may lock herself in her room and not want to talk to you or anyone else. This behavior could escalate into depression, which may require professional help.
According to the Women and Children’s Health Network, your child might feel guilty about the family’s break up. He might consider himself responsible for your divorce or separation. He might handle this with anger or he might behave better than ever. He may become the most helpful, kindest, most polite child you’ve ever met – perhaps only to prove to you that he’s not affected by your divorce -- or even because he might believe that he could use his good behavior in an attempt to get the family – you, his parent – back with his other parent.