Updated: Aug 25, 2021
A divorce presents families with a lot of changes, challenges, and adjustments, and each family member will deal with them differently. It is not uncommon for children involved in a divorce to have ongoing behavioral and emotional issues. In this case, children's counseling is often recommended.
How Divorce Affects Children:
Children can be affected in many ways by divorce. It is possible that they feel that the divorce is their fault, which leads to feeling guilty all the time.
Children can also be relieved by the news that their parents are divorcing since it will lessen their stress in the home. It is also common for children to blame their parents for not trying hard enough and see the parent leaving as abandoning both the other parent and themselves. It is also important to remember that every child experiences divorce differently, and their experiences can be different from other children in the same home.
Common Signs That Your Divorce is Affecting Your Child:
When a child's trust in their parents is shaken, they may feel as though they can no longer depend on one or both of their parents. Their feelings of anxiety about their family may increase in the wake of the separation of their households. Usually, these emotions manifest themselves in the following ways:
Problems with eating or sleeping
Dropping grades in school
An increase in conflict with school peers
Compulsive behavior or display of irrational fears
A change in personality
Increased emotional sensitivity
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
In spite of these troubling symptoms, therapy can be very effective in helping them deal with this major life change.
Child Therapy: How Can It Help?
Children growing up already have to deal with a lot of change. Divorce can create even more complexity, making it difficult for a child to cope.
Counseling for divorced children helps them express what they're feeling through talk therapy and family sessions. Additionally, a child might benefit from training to provide them with the coping, impulse control, and assertiveness skills that will enable them to feel confident and stronger.
Play can also be an effective way to help younger children cope with the stress, insecurity, and symptoms of divorce. When younger children play, they learn about themselves and express their feelings. Play is also seen as a positive activity and, as such, is ideal for giving children an opportunity to express themselves in a constructive and subjective way.
If your child is experiencing divorce-related stress, play therapy or counseling can help.
Odell Terrell is a mental health counselor in Greensboro, NC. He graduated with a MS in Counseling from Divine Mercy University in Arlington, VA, and places an emphasis on working with spiritual integration, adults and adolescents, trauma, family and children, and grief and loss. Odell received his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Leo's in St. Leo Florida, with a degree in Psychology. He has spent his last 15 years working in the field of emergency services. It is in working with people in emergency situations, both patients and first responders, that Odell has learned how to deal respectively with people in crises mode, helping instill a sense of hope and healing. Odell is happily married, for 17 years, and is the father of 9 children and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his family and child therapy practice.