Watch Out for These Common Signs of Stress in Children After Divorce

Divorce can be difficult on everyone involved — especially your children. Young people might not be able to grasp how the divorce will affect their lives and their family dynamics. Some research indicates that as many as 25 percent of children whose parents divorce will experience some level of ongoing emotional or behavioral difficulty.

As a parent, you should carefully watch your children after your divorce to see if they exhibit any of these common signs of stress and potential emotional problems:

  • Prolonged anger or sadness
  • Regular difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep at night
  • Regular nightmares or night terrors
  • Regressed behaviors, such as a child who had been toilet trained beginning to wet the bed again or a slightly older child becoming uncomfortable being away from home for just a few hours
  • Sudden changes in academic performance
  • Major prolonged behavioral changes, including a sudden inconsiderate or disrespectful nature
  • Increase in frequent illnesses of certain types, such as headaches or stomachaches (which are common responses to emotional distress)
  • Drastic changes in eating habits
  • A regular tendency to overreact to normal circumstances
  • Onset of anxiety that affects a child’s social life and ability to function in general in day-to-day life
  • A desire to hurt themselves, whether merely expressed as a desire or acted upon
  • Refusal to spend time with one or both parents

Children may react differently to a divorce, so it is important to stay mindful of each child’s specific needs. For the guidance and support you need when dissolving your marriage, meet with an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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