Divorce is hard on the spouses, but it is equally hard — if not harder — on the children. The many changes that are incumbent with a divorce can play havoc with the kids’ security and stability.
Parents must be protective of their children during these difficult transitions. Kids may not be able to articulate their feelings or know what they need. The emotions they feel can frustrate and confuse them.
Seeking help is an optionSome adults and children need a little help to adjust to all of these major changes to their family’s structure. One way to support your children is to get them some short-term professional counseling.
While your kids can always turn to you or their other parent, they may find it easier to unburden themselves to a neutral third party. They can learn how to express negative emotions in socially acceptable and healthier ways than acting out or self-harming.Red flags to watch for
Does your child need counseling to get back on track after your divorce? They may, if you notice the following:
- Extreme sadness that lingers
- Spates of crying
- Acting out at school or home
- Refusing to accept the changes
- Withdrawing from friends, family and activities
- Regressive or clingy behaviors
- Poor concentration
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Rage and temper tantrums
- Feels responsible for or has guilt over the divorce
What you can do
If you are seeking custody of your children, you should make sure that you do all you can to assist them at this time. Ask your pediatrician for a recommendation for a child psychologist who can provide counseling to the kids and help them adjust to their parents’ new normal.
Keep your own lines of communication open with your children. This will involve leaving their other parent in the loop about the situation. If you are unable to talk face-to-face, you can send emails, texts or whatever other method works for you.
Exercise all of your options
Failing to address the emotional and mental health needs of your children could be construed as child neglect in a contentious custody battle. Make sure that you leave no stone unturned in getting your children the help they need when they are struggling to cope with their parents’ divorce.