When we think about a divorce, we often neglect to think about the other people in our lives that it may impact. While this should never change your actions, looking after your child following a divorce is something that you need to think about very carefully. Many children find watching their parents getting divorced to be heart-breaking, and there are certain signs you’ll need to look out for that they may need extra support during this uncertain time in their life.

Substance Abuse

If you notice your child starts to act in a suspicious manner or is abusing any illegal substances, it’s time to seek help from a counselor as soon as possible. However, many children also just adopt unhealthy habits during a divorce, relying on junk food, staying up late, or gaming excessively. If your child is picking up any unhealthy habits, keep an eye on them and seek help if they continue.

Avoiding School

When your child starts to skip school or dreads going in each morning, this is the first sign that they may be struggling with the divorce. From there, things often only become more serious, so try to put an end to this behavior as soon as possible. Talk to your school’s counselor about any resources they can offer your family, and ensure your child knows there’s always someone there to talk to them.

Poor Grades

During a difficult time in your child’s life, their schoolwork is likely to suffer. When their grades start to drop, and they begin to fail classes, offer them assistance as soon as possible. Speak to your child’s counselor about the situation and see what they can recommend.

Violence and Anger

Violence and anger are clear signs that your child is struggling. If they are feeling angry or upset about the divorce, they may not know how to control their emotions and will lash out at you for the most unexpected reasons. The stress of a divorce can soon take its toll on children of all ages, as they feel like their whole world is crumbling around them. If things become too serious, we recommend seeking the support of a professional psychiatrist or counselor.

Spending More Time Alone

If your child would rather spend their time alone than with your family, this can often lead to more drastic actions. Maybe they start by refusing to eat at the dinner table or no longer enjoy going to games as a family. This can soon lead to substance abuse or other issues, so ensure these behaviors are stopped in their tracks. Also, when you find that other people are starting to notice these changes, such as your friends and family, it’s time to sit down with your child and see what’s really going on. Ensure they know support is always available and that you will help them through this process also.

We always encourage parents to check in with their children throughout the divorce process. Even if you don’t see any of these signs currently, make sure you offer them the help and resources they may need in the future. Your child’s school counselor and your family doctor are both great resources for times of need and will be able to offer you suitable solutions for the challenging time you are all going through.