Normal toddler behavior after divorce?

(March 24, 2010)

Divorce is a traumatic event emotionally for all members of the immediate family. Apart from the various arguments and acrimony, divorce also means that the normal routine of life is permanently changed. Either the mother or the father will move out and this may be done with or without the toddler. Even in the divorces which are amicable, the effect on the toddler may be profound. Toddlers are unable to vocalize their feelings and it is your responsibility as the parent to look for signs of toddler stress and unhappiness.

There are some signs to look for in a toddler that might point to the toddler being affected by the divorce. These could range from sleeping disorders, increased tantrums, sadness and depression and an extreme reaction to being left with either one parent. This may be in the form of a tantrum or signaled by your toddler bursting into tears.

All these signs can point to your toddler being affected by divorce. It is recommended that parents take active note of their toddler’s behavior and follow some steps to minimize the effect. Toddlers are comfortable with routine. Routine activities around the house offer the toddler a sense of security as it is something that the toddler knows and can deal with. Try and maintain as much of your routine as possible. Your toddler may be used to family and friends being around. If this is the case, try and maintain it. Try to keep your toddler in the same school or make sure that he/she spends time with the same group of toddlers that he/she used to.  

Toddlers can be affected badly if one or both of the parents are not stable in their behavior. If the divorce is a result of an unstable partner, make sure that you are careful that your ex takes proper care of the toddler. Sometimes just being ignorant or lazy will result in your toddler feeling neglected and may trigger symptoms of sadness and loneliness.

When you are getting divorced, try to maintain a civil relationship with your ex. Anger and fighting has a detrimental effect on the child’s psyche and should be avoided at all costs. When the toddler is changing houses, i.e. moving from one parent to the other over a weekend, for example, make sure that he/she is prepared. Allow your toddler to be comfortable before you leave him/her behind.

Submitted by P T on March 24, 2010 at 01:27

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