Child Behavior Divorce

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The mind of a child as we all know is very impressionable, especially that of a young child. It equally forms an impression, registers it and stores it in its memory; the effects of which are manifested in accordance with the memory or the trace of it left. That is, if the memory was a pleasant one, then it gives joy, and in cases where the memory was a sad or unfortunate one, more than grief it might also bring about a few unexpected changes in the behavior of the child for the worse. This effects not merely the child but the loved ones associated with them as well. Divorce can leave one of such worst effects on the mind of the young child; a chapter which will be there with the child all throughout the life, and effect accordingly, depending on the state in which it took place. Due to divorce, children experience a real sense of loss. They feel profound grief for the loss of the presence of a parent and loss of their expectation of the kind of family they had dreamed of. Although, some children have been told about divorce and its consequences, they do not loose hope that their parents would reunite in the future. Thus children always depend on their parents and wish to have a happy family together.

However, along with the passage of time, a majority of children accept the altered circumstances. But, it is very important when a divorce is imminent, the couple take adequate care to ensure that even if it takes place, the circumstances leading to it as well as the outcome is not a bitter one so that the child behavior in divorce cases is not a matter to worry.

Child behavior in Divorce Cases differs from child to child depending mainly on the age of the child and the circumstances in which the divorce between the parents took place. These effects might either have their impact on the child for a shorter duration or a longer duration depending on the state in which the divorce between the couple had taken place. A few of the pattern of child behavior in Divorce Cases are

15 to 18 years Child behavior in Divorce Cases

  • The following points are observed in older teens:
    • They demonstrate signs of depression,
    • They run away from home,
    • They run into trouble with the law and,
    • Their school performance is poor.
  • The child becomes intolerant of the problems of the parent.
  • The child concentrates on establishing their independent lifestyle.
  • The child feels that if they overlook parental dating, this might be disloyalty to the other parent.

12 to 15 years Child behavior in Divorce Cases

  • The demeanor of the child has the following characteristics:
    • Chronic oppositional behavior,
    • Depression,
    • Discouraging performance in school,
    • Moodiness,
    • Promiscuous sexual activity and
    • Use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • The child does not accept that they should reside with each parent for half of their time,
  • The child may begin blaming one or both parents for the divorce and
  • The child might demand to switch residences continuously or to reside in one house for a long time.

9 to 12 years

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Difficulties with peer groups
  • Learning problems
  • Loneliness
  • Physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches
  • Role reversal i.e., a child experiences compulsion to care or support for an emotionally distraught parent at the expense of his/her own emotions
  • The child becomes involved in activities wherein the parents are not involved
  • The child declines to spend equal time with each parent
  • The child gives priority to friendships, community interests and school
  • The child starts to take sides with one parent

6 to 8 years

  • Aggression, anger and sadness
  • Physical problems like headaches and stomachaches
  • The child feels the need to be reassured that their parents love them
  • The child gives priority to fairness. They desire to spend equal amount of time with each parent
  • The child has problems regarding developing friendships
  • The child tries to probe who is at fault or who should be blamed for the divorce

2 to 4 years

  • Display of tantrums
  • Frequent crying
  • Getting engaged in power struggles
  • Regression to baby behavior like bed wetting, thumb-sucking and sleep walking during the night
  • The child expresses anger or fussiness regarding either or both parents
  • The child worries continuously about separation

Birth to 2 years

  • Distress manifests itself in the form of alteration in sleeping and eating habits, crying and fussiness
  • Separation anxiety results in clinging demeanor, distress and withdrawal

However not always are the changes in child behavior in Divorce Cases as disturbing and worrisome as thought. Thanks to the care and precautions taken on the part of responsible parents, who act very maturely, taking adequate care that their little bundle of joy feels equally cared for and loved as before and grows up to be a good human.

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