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Helping kids adjust: When your children act out during divorce

Although it is an uncomfortable situation to be in, parents do have to handle the struggle of helping their children adjust to divorce despite the ways they may be acting out against them. A young child may have tantrums, while an older child might begin talking back or lashing out. It is hard to handle, but it is a parent's responsibility to do so.

It is totally normal for children to react to such a major life change in a dramatic way. Your child may be angry or frustrated, scared or in pain. This could come out in harmful actions like hitting or throwing objects, or it could show up as symptoms of an illness.

How can you help your child adjust to the idea of divorce?

Regardless of how your child is acting, the thing parents must realize is that everything their children understand and know about their lives has started to change. Children may feel that they have no control, and that puts them into a position where they don't know how to act.

It's a smart choice to sit down with your child to discuss divorce and talk through those emotions each and every time they're acting out. If your child is throwing a tantrum, for example, punishing them probably won't help. However, talking to them about what is bothering them and consoling them about the changes can.

As a parent, the best thing you can do is to acknowledge how your child feels during divorce and take steps to help them address those feelings. That way, they can move forward with more confidence.

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