What not to do when your child acts out after your divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce may be a trying experience not just for the adults involved, but the underage children. In fact, they may suffer more because they have so little control over any of the events occurring.

They have no choice but to accept the upheaval of their world and possibly relationships. It is natural then that they may experience complex emotions they may not be able to handle and react accordingly. While how children behave after a divorce may vary depending on factors such as age and maturity level, it is not uncommon for them to act out as a way to deal with their complex feelings and confusion. As their parent, there are certain actions you need to avoid when trying to handle sudden shifts in their behavior.

Lashing out

Do not respond in kind if your children suddenly become belligerent, angry, defiant, aggressive or rude. Do not blame them for the divorce or punish them out of rage. Remain calm and encourage them to express their feelings through words. Consider counseling as an avenue for them to discuss their emotions. Let them know your love is unconditional, and their behavior will not change that. They may secretly wish for this kind of affirmation from you, which may drive some of their actions.

Giving in

While it is important to maintain a level of understanding and empathy, it is equally important not to be too lax. Part of the reason children push boundaries is that they crave the security of knowing they exist. A little spoiling is fine, but keeping to normal rules reassures your children that you are still a source of stability.

Divorce may cause your children to act out. Watch their behavior carefully as certain ones may signal underlying mental health issues, and maintain a firm but loving stance.