Divorce can be a difficult situation for the entire family to deal with. It involves many changes and means adjusting to new routines and lifestyles. Children may have trouble understanding what is going on and why things are changing. There is a period of adjustment for everyone as they figure out how to move on. Not only are parents coping with their own feelings and changes in routine, they are trying to help their children cope as well.
Many children go through a range of emotions as they come to terms with the divorce. Over time, they often adjust and settle back into their activities and routines. With continuous love, support, and reassurance from their parents they realize that although some things have changed, many have still stayed the same.
However, some children have a more difficult time adjusting. Safe Harbor Christian Counseling recognizes that sometimes children need more support and guidance to work through their feelings and accept changes. Counseling can be a very beneficial way for parents to help their child cope and build valuable skills. Recognizing that your child may need counseling is the first step. Here are some signs that may indicate a problem:
- Getting into trouble
- Trouble with separation
- Poor performance in school
- Sleeping or eating problems
- Acting out
- Engaging in obsessive or compulsive habits
These are just a few signs that more intervention is necessary to help your child get back on track and deal with their emotions and the changes occurring in a healthier way. Counseling could benefit your child in a multitude of ways:
Get in touch with their emotions. A counselor can help your child to better identify the emotions that they are feeling. Your child may not understand exactly what is going on or why they feel the way they do. By recognizing their emotions, they can also learn how to express them in a more effective way.
Share their concerns. Divorce can bring up many questions in the minds of children. Since it is something that they have not dealt with before, they may be unsure of how to process things. Knowing that their parents are separating, they may not feel comfortable bringing up the questions that they have or are unsure who to ask. A counselor is more removed from the situation and can help your child to open up about concerns that they may have. They can help your child to work through their thoughts about these issues and see things from a different perspective. Sometimes just having someone to talk to and being able to get things out in the open can provide some relief.
Learn new coping strategies. Change can be hard to deal with. Through counseling your child can learn healthier ways of coping with challenging situations. They can develop strategies for dealing with their emotions, expressing their thoughts and feelings, and adjusting to change. This can help them to communicate with you about what they are experiencing. Then together you can work through the situation and come up with a feasible solution or provide clarity and reassurance.
Building stronger bonds. Once your child understands that it is not their fault, both parents still love them very much, and everyone is working together to create safe, healthy environments, they can begin healing. Rather than placing blame on anyone or anything, they can focus on reconnecting and building stronger bonds within the family. They may find special activities that they like to do with each parent that helps them to feel closer and more connected.
Dealing with divorce takes time. Have patience and work with your children to better understand what is occurring. They are sure to have many questions, so you do your best to answer them honestly and with compassion. Seeking counseling for your children and yourself can help everyone to grow and become stronger individuals. Working through issues and learning to cope with change can help everyone to adjust to new routines.
Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers a safe, comfortable atmosphere for your family to work through issues surrounding divorce. Our professional counseling services can be a valuable support for your children as they come to terms with their emotions and the changes occurring in their life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit www.safeharbor1.com or call 1-800-305-20891-800-305-2089.