Child Counseling – Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

Divorce is definitely not an easy situation, especially for children. Upon knowing that their parents are not going to be together, each child’s reaction is unique, depending on their age and other circumstances. It’s quite normal to find them sad, angry, and frustrated. Parents have the responsibility to help their children through the divorce since it’s their decision. It can be done by minimizing the tension, responding to their needs, and helping them to adjust to the situation.

Telling Kids about Divorce

Don’t hide the divorce from children. There is no easy way to break the news but it is best that both parents are there to talk about it. Emphasize to them that they are not reason why mom and dad decided to go separate ways. There are some children who blame themselves for the situation so it’s important that parents give reassurance on the matter. Keep everything simple for younger children but for older children, there would be more explanations and they would certainly ask some questions.

Helping Kids Cope

Divorce can be associated with loss. Children would definitely miss the presence of one parent and the completeness of a family. In time, the parents and children would become used to the situation. It’s ideal to speak with the children more often. Share your feelings and they will open up to you. For younger kids, the parent may offer the chance to call their mom or dad, depending on who gets custody of the children. Try to create activities that will keep their mind off the situation.

Fighting in Front of the Kids

There may be fighting and violence in a family which is breaking up. Sometimes, these things can happen even after the divorce. When the children are still learning to cope with the divorce, it’s best not to let them witness fighting between their parents. If the parents are hostile with each other, it can bring about behavioral problems in the children. A divorce counselor can help couples to deal with their situation so they will not hurt the children. This can be difficult but it’s something that can be positive in the long run.

Adjusting to a New Living Situation

A divorce means big changes so adjustment is important for both children and parents. There are different scenarios to be considered regarding the custody of the child. Sometimes, it involves moving to a new place or town. Whatever the scenario, the children’s welfare should always be given precedent. Parents should resolve these on their own and not involve the children in the decision process. It’s also advisable to explore suggestions offered by children.

Parenting under Pressure

Although it’s not easy to keep things normal, it can be done. Be consistent in your home routine like bedtime, rules, discipline, and other things. If they are the ex spouse’s house, tell them to maintain the same schedule as well. Some parents would allow their children to do anything out of guilt. It’s definitely not the right thing to do. If the children get spoiled, it’s very hard to turn back the time.

Divorce Counseling Resources

  • Teen Substance Abuse: SAMHSA discusses the possibility of offering divorce counseling for preventing teen substance abuse.
  • Counseling Help: Go through the page to find out how to cope with your parents’ divorce.
  • Divorce Recovery Workshop: Start the recovery process at this workshop.
  • Divorce Counseling: Jean McBride offers professional divorce counseling.
  • KidWorks: The center provides help for children who are suffering as a result of their parents’ divorce.