One of the hardest parts of divorcing as a parent is time away from your child. Most courts look for parents to share custody to some degree, and when you are not with your child, you may wonder how they are getting on.
If you distrust your ex, you may fear they will mistreat your child. Physical abuse is relatively simple to spot as you can look for marks or bruises. Emotional abuse, however, is much less obvious.
The key thing to look for is behavioral changes in your child
Kids do not change their behavior patterns from one moment to the next without reason. Here are some that could indicate emotional abuse:
- A drop in performance at school
- Getting into trouble with the law or school authorities
- Appearing to regress in age
- Becoming clingy around you
- Having nightmares or wetting the bed when they are past that age
- Dropping out of their social life
Many of the behaviors may present at school rather than at home, so if you are concerned, try talking to the teachers to see if they have noticed anything wrong. Without backup from other people, it is easy to think you are imagining it all, especially if your ex tells you not to be stupid, which many abusers might.
If you suspect your child has been suffering emotional abuse, you may need the help of a child psychologist or therapist to prove your theories are correct. Making accusations without evidence could lead to further issues. Once you are sure it is going on, the next step is to investigate the legal avenues available to modify the custody agreement to protect your child.