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Dealing with ‘Chameleon Kids’ After a Divorce

The impact of divorce can be emotionally traumatizing for kids. The combination of an upheaval of their day-to-day routines with the uncertainty that comes with not knowing their parents’ future places a lot of stress on children and can have some significant effects on their moods and personalities.

One common trait seen in children after a divorce is the idea of a “chameleon kid,” a child whose identities and personalities shift depending on the parent with whom they’re spending time. These kids are likely to tell each parent exactly what they want to hear, which could include badmouthing one parent when with the other or telling one parent they favor him or her over the other. Other warning signs include changing interests or activities, shifting styles of clothes and forming new ways of talking.

Kids more susceptible to peer pressure

The “chameleon kid” trait can quickly become problematic, as children who are so prone to personality swings in their home lives can easily begin to mold their identities to fit a certain group of friends. If they get mixed up with the wrong crowd, they are more likely to be vulnerable to peer pressure and give in to behaviors they would not normally participate in, such as drug and alcohol use and criminal activity.

Parents who are concerned their children are exhibiting signs of these issues should focus on communicating well with their kids and the other parent. By having better communication with your former partner, you can get a better idea of what your children are like in each household. You can then work toward demonstrating to your children that they do not need to work to earn your affection.

For the guidance you need when dealing with tough child custody issues, meet with an experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyer.

Attorney Maggie Harris contributed to this blog post.

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