Children who are enduring a divorce often feel frightened and alone, and their normal source of support (their parents) may be the last people a child feels comfortable in talking to right now. So we would encourage parent’s to consider these additional sources of divorce support for their children:
A) Think about divorce support groups for your children
If you live in a city or suburban area, there are probably formal divorce support groups offered for children. Many of these groups are run through large churches, others from local civic organizations or therapists. They usually contain sessions where kids talk about what is happening, merged in with fun activities or excursions that give children a chance to bond with others who are in a similar position. Because they surround children with others who are experiencing similar struggles, they are usually a benefit. Call around to local psychologists to ask about any such groups in your area. Or simply Google: Divorce support groups for children in (your town, state).
B) Surround your child with extended support
Encourage friends and family to offer their support as someone to talk to, especially if you have adolescents. Older children often have strong feelings about the divorce, and may be too angry with both of you for them to garner any comfort from talking to you directly.
C) Provide peer support for kids during divorce
Arrange play dates with friends who have previously endured their parents’ divorce. If you know of any children within your child’s normal friendship circles, try to arrange for some additional get-togethers. Children can draw support from each other, and it may help your child feel less alone.
Should I get my child counseling?
A qualified child therapist can be a wonderful resource for a child enduring a divorce. Unfortunately, not all therapists are so wonderful, and professional therapy may not always be necessary. But it can be a vital means of support that should be considered in the following circumstances:
- If a child is struggling with anger issues, emotional outbursts, or aggressive problems in school
- If a child becomes suicidal or begins making threats of suicide
- If grades drop more than a full GPA point
- If he or she becomes prone to significant mood swings
- If you’re having problems communicating with your kids
If you can afford it, securing a therapist for your child is one more avenue of support to help them through this process. Just don’t feel that it’s absolutely necessary if finances are tight. Should you choose to go this route, you can find helpful information on choosing a therapist on our website.