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Subtle signs schoolchildren are struggling with a pending divorce

No doubt, going through a divorce takes an emotional toll on spouses. Divorcing parents also recognize the challenges divorce brings to their kids. Schoolchildren in California and around the country are especially susceptible to the changes taking place in their homes when their parents separate.

Counselors at New York University explain signs of divorce teachers and school counselors may notice in kids at different points in their education. For example, at elementary age, they have a strong need for safety, and since parental separation tears away at the security of the home, young students may seem sad or even angry. They may lose interest in games they used to enjoy or have a hard time getting their schoolwork finished. 

Pre-teens, they say, may express anger, too, and resent the embarrassment their parents' conflict creates. Since they are trying to become more independent themselves, their parents' arguments may leave them feeling stuck. They may also get into more trouble at school or pretend they no longer care about activities they used to like. 

As they prepare to launch into adulthood, teenagers of divorcing parents often accept more than their share of responsibility, NYU counselors say. They also may have difficulty feeling hopeful about the future, all struggles that can lead to "extreme negativity or criticism" and extreme, risky behavior.

What can parents do to support children as they head into the classroom day after day while facing changes at home? Psychology Today explains talking to kids is important. Assure them they will have support in the transition, and let them know what they have to say is important. 

Also, commit to communicate with the former spouse about homework, transportation, activities and any other school-related issues. If parents stay organized, they can help their children do the same.

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