Adults enter divorce therapy so that they can make the transition out of marriage as smoothly as possible. But what happens to divorce’s most innocent victims? Just like adults, children will undergo a great deal of stress before, during and after a divorce. But unlike adults, they are not old enough to understand the complexity of the matter – or that time will help heal the pain they are experiencing.
That is precisely why children need to be a part of divorce counseling. Adults must learn how to help their children adjust to the changes that will occur as a result of their separation. They must open and honest with their children and create an environment that welcomes discussion and questions about divorce.
Warning Signs a Child May Need Divorce Therapy
It is important for parents to be aware of the signs and signals that their child may be experiencing as a result of their divorce. The following are some of the most common signs that a child may indeed require divorce therapy.
Trouble at school (academically). Following a divorce many children will see their grades slip or have difficulty paying attention in class.
Trouble at school (socially). Children may start getting into fights or bullying other children following a divorce.
Depression. Once-happy children may begin to experience chronic depression after their parents are divorced.
Anger. The children of the recently divorced may see their confusion and disappointment at the situation manifested as anger. This can lead children to lash out without warning at friends and family members.
The Importance of Divorce Therapy for Children
Research among leading psychologists and mental health professionals has found, time and again, that those children who have an outlet to talk about their feelings regarding their parents’ divorce will experience less trauma than those who keep it all bottled up inside. Without this outlet, the pain of divorce can impact not only their childhoods, but their adult relationships as well.
The Three Major Types of Divorce Therapy for Children
Group therapy. In group therapy, children are given a chance to share their stories with other kids who has parents involved in a divorce. For many, the peer group helps kids open up as they learn that they are not alone in what they are going through.
Family therapy. As the name suggests, family therapy involves sessions with parents and children – and gives everyone an opportunity to talk about their feelings and concerns.
Individual therapy. It should come as no surprise that many children do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings in front of their parents. Individual counseling is private – with only the child and counselor present.
Moonview Sanctuary offers divorce therapy and counseling that helps the entire family stay emotionally healthy during this difficult time. Working closely with patients to assess the specific needs, the counselors at Moonview’s Overcoming Personal Crisis program are able to develop a customized plan for the entire family. Contact Moonview today for more information.