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Recognising Distress

During divorce, separation or family disputes, children can experience a range of complex emotions.  

Recognising signs of distress in your child is crucial for providing support during divorce or separation.  Here are some common signs to watch for: 

Changes in Behaviour

Look out for changes in your child's behaviour, such as increased aggression, withdrawal, mood swings, or changes in eating or sleeping patterns. 

Emotional Outbursts

Notice if your child seems more emotional than usual, such as crying more frequently, having tantrums or expressing intense anger or sadness.

Physical Symptoms

Pay attention to any physical symptoms your child may be experiencing, such as headaches, stomach aches, or general discomfort, which can be manifestations of emotional distress.  

Academic or Social Problems

Keep an eye on your child's performance at school and their interactions with friends and peers.  A decline in academic performance or social withdrawal may indicate underlying distress.


Watch for signs of regression, such as bedwetting, clinging behaviour, or reverting to behaviours they had previously outgrown.  These can be responses to stress and insecurity.  

Find out about how to communicate with your child about their feelings

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