At this time, you have just completed one of the toughest conversations you will have with your child – you have told him/her of your definite decision to leave your marriage and seek a divorce. If you did it the right way, you and your spouse sat down with your child and explained to them why this is happening and what to expect in the immediate future. You heaped him/her with love, listened patiently to his/her concerns, and made positive assurances that you will always love and support them.
Now, you might be thinking your child understands what happened, and is ready to move on. Unfortunately, this is not the situation for many children. Instead, you may find your child misbehaving at home or in school. He/she may refuse to cooperate or openly defy your instructions. A child upset about divorce may believe his/her negative behavior will bring parents back together. If you are focused on getting your child out of trouble, then you may forget about divorcing.
In situations such as this, your role is to be a supportive, reassuring presence in your child’s life. Explain to your children that you are leaving the marriage, but you are not leaving them. Continue to be an active presence in their life, even if it seems they do not want you to be there. Respond to negative behavior firmly, but don’t allow negative behavior become an act of attention seeking. Therefore, it’s a good move to reward positive actions with lots of praise, while you give brief, disciplinary attention to negative behavior
To help your child move through these issues, it’s important to understand why the behavior is happening and that your children are merely reacting to a bad situation. Remember, at this point you]ve had time to work through your feeling, express your anger, and cry over your disappointment – now, it is their turn.