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The Adaptability of Children in Divorce—Pros and Cons

The Adaptability of Children in Divorce—Pros and ConsIt’s pretty hard, most of the time, to be a child of divorce. Kids look to their parents for guidance, acceptance, love, support and instruction. When they get dramatically different signals from one parent, they can become confused, anxious and depressed. Often, as a defense mechanism, they will simply adapt—be what dad wants at dad’s house and what mom wants for mom. Experts say that there are benefits to learning some level of adaptability, but that kids who continually play different roles and wear different “masks” when with different parents ultimately struggle to find out who they really are.

Learning to Be Flexible

To successfully function in society, we all need to learn some level of flexibility—to learn that we can’t always behave the same way in every situation. You wouldn’t want your child to act the same way at a classical music performance or at a funeral that they would at a birthday party or a rock concert. Everyone is different, and it’s inevitable that dad will respond differently to some things than mom does, or that dad will attach more or less importance to some rule or behavior than mom does. Being exposed to that can help children prepare for situations that are different or where circumstances are not as expected.

Children who are expected or believe that they must behave very differently when with different parents tend to become extremely vulnerable to peer pressure and abuse. They can associate the failure to adapt with a fear of abandonment or rejection. They may associate with peers, not because they have much in common, but because they feel sorry for those kids or they are simply afraid to be alone. The other common problem with over-adaptive kids is the inability to make decisions. They tend to believe that the parent with whom they are staying controls the agenda, so they often engage in a game of trying to guess what the parent wants, instead of expressing their own opinion or answering a question honestly.

Contact Stewart Law, PLLC

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 10 years of experience to clients in south Texas.

Concerns about Over-Adapting

To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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