Stuck in the Middle: Why Therapy Is a Good Idea for Children of Divorce

Stuck in the Middle: Why Therapy Is a Good Idea for Children of Divorce

Divorce presents families with many changes, challenges, and adjustments, and each family member will handle these in a different way. However, the majority of divorces occurring in the United States involve younger children, who can develop ongoing behavioral and emotional problems. It is for this reason that counseling services for children are often recommended.

How Divorce Can Affect Children

Children can be affected by divorce in many ways. They may feel as though the divorce was their fault, and they may find they’re feeling guilty all of the time. A child can also be relieved at the news that their parents are divorcing, as this will eliminate the stress they feel in the household. Some children may blame their parents’ divorce for their own negative behavior, or they may understand why this separation was necessary.

The bottom line is that every child experiences divorce differently, and their experience can be as unique as they are.

Common Signs That Your Child Is Affected by Your Divorce

For children who are younger than 18, divorce can have many effects. A child’s trust in their parents can be shaken, and they may feel as though they can no longer depend on one or both parents. They may be confused by the separation of households and feel insecure about their family. These emotions often reveal 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

While these symptoms can certainly be very troubling to notice in your child, therapy can be incredibly effective for helping them through this major life change.

What Does Therapy for Children Look Like?

Growing up means that there are already many things happening simultaneously with the body and the brain. Divorce can add even more complexity, making it very difficult for a child to deal with it all.

Children’s divorce counseling helps them express what they’re feeling through talk therapy, as well as sessions with the family. A child may also benefit from training that gives them the coping, impulse control, and assertiveness skills they need to feel stronger and more confident.

Another very effective way to help younger children deal with the stress, insecurity, and symptoms of divorce is via play. Playing is how younger children learn about themselves and how to express their emotions. Play is also a positive activity and, as such, is ideal for helping children express their feelings in a constructive and non-judgmental environment.

If your child is experiencing stress as the result of divorce, play therapy and counseling can both be of great benefit. At Matthew J. Bruhin and Associates, we understand the struggles your child may be facing. Our trained therapists focus on unique and creative approaches that ensure a positive and progressive experience for your child. We welcome all inquiries. Call 619-493-0510 to learn more.

father and son outside bonding together