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Divorce: My child's reactions

When parents divorce, the children have to make many adjustments. For instance, your child may have to move. She may also have to learn to be part of two or three new families.

With all of this change going on, it isn't surprising that most children react in some way. Sooner or later, the stress of divorce or separation often comes out in a range of sad, angry and anxious behaviours in your child.

Your child may not eat or sleep well. He might also seek negative attention by lying, stealing or doing poorly at school or daycare. Or, he may become overly sweet and compliant. Sometimes children react by bedwetting.

It is important to be sensitive to, and encourage your child to talk about her reactions to your separation, because she will need your help adjusting to it. Of course, this is easier said than done when you're a newly divorced parent, and your own life is also in upheaval.

If your child is having major trouble adjusting, or if his behaviour is getting in the way of either of you having a normal life, contact your child's physician. If you are in Canada, and you wish to speak to a counsellor about this, contact Parent Help Line, 1-888-603-9100.

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