The process of divorce can be a traumatic and stressful event. The process becomes even more complex when there are children involved. At GROW Counseling, we believe that having a skilled team of professionals is essential to having the best possible outcome when a couple decides to end their marriage. My colleague, Porsha Jones, recently wrote a blog on how counselors can be helpful throughout the divorce process to your clients. I would like to highlight how counseling can be helpful to the children of your clients who decide to get a divorce.
For children, divorce can be extremely disruptive.
Most children have strong relationships with both parents and an attachment to their family unit as a whole. When two parents decide to move forward with a divorce, the entire world that a child knows completely changes in an instant. This can lead children to feel confused, hurt, insecure, scared, angry, vulnerable, and many other complex emotions.
Children need to be taught how to understand, cope and express their emotions in a healthy manner.
This is where a therapist who specializes in seeing children should be sought. They can make sure that your child is able to better adapt and move forward into their new reality.
A skilled therapist can also help the parents learn how to co-parent outside of a marriage.
This will be new territory for your clients and it is helpful to begin the process of developing effective co-parenting skills right away. Parental conflict can impede a child’s development and adjustment. It is imperative that each parent puts aside his or her feelings about the divorce and learns how to cooperate and co-parent successfully.
If you are unsure of whether or not to refer a child for counseling throughout the process of a divorce, here are a few signs to keep an eye out for:
- Acting Out
- Displaying Aggression
- Extreme Sadness or Depression
- Feelings of Guilt
- Academic Problems
- Social Issues
- Separation anxiety
- Sleep or eating issues
- Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
Written By: Amanda Dempsey Barnes, LAMFT