Children of divorce often struggle to adjust to their new lives after their parents officially separate. Divorce is one of the biggest reasons for child counseling here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers, in addition to child anxiety, childhood depression, and bullying. Approximately 15.2% of Detroit adults are separated or divorced, leaving hundreds of children to cope with the loss of their family structure. If you are divorced, separated, or getting divorced, these counseling techniques for children of divorce may help you get your children through this difficult time in life.
Talk To Your Children About Divorce
Children often have worries or concerns about divorce because they simply do not understand what is going on. It’s important to explain to your children that you and your spouse will no longer live together, but you both will still be active in your children’s lives. Do not go into details about the arguments or disagreements that led to your divorce. Your children should not be put in the middle of your marital quarrels. Nevertheless, they have the right to know what is going on with their family and how those events will impact their futures.
Here are some good questions to ask your children as you continue communicating about divorce:
- What worries you the most about your parents getting divorced?
- In your opinion, why do people get married? Why do they get divorced?
- What does “divorce” mean to you?
- Do you know anyone else with divorced parents? What do you like/not like about how their family works?
- What do you think the biggest change will be for you after the divorce?
- Can you think of any positive changes that have come from the divorce?
The questions you ask will depend on the current state of your relationship, but the goal is always the same. Make sure your children understand the changes that are happening and will happen so they are not blindsided by them, and most importantly, make sure they feel loved and supported throughout the entire process.
Ask Your Children To Draw Pictures
Children don’t always know the right words to say to express how they feel. That’s why we often ask children to draw pictures during our child counseling sessions, to get a better perspective of their current emotional state. Sometimes children are embarrassed or scared to say what they truly feel. When they draw, those feelings come out even if they don’t realize they’re illustrating them. You can ask your children to…
- Draw pictures of your home(s) and your family members
- Draw a picture of anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, etc. (whatever emotions you think your child may be going through)
- Draw what you think divorce looks like
- Draw how divorce makes you feel
- Draw your favorite memory with your family
The picture is just the beginning of the process. From there, you can start picking up context clues from the drawings to determine what your child is thinking or feeling. For instance, let’s say your child draws your family, but one family member looks sad, mean, or hurt. Ask your child why they drew that person that way, and explain any misunderstandings that the child may have. This may also change the way you see yourself and the way you portray your emotions around your children. They’re more perceptive than you may think.
Spend Quality Time With Your Children
One of the biggest fears that children have is that divorce will somehow make their parents love them less, or that they caused the divorce altogether. Your children need to be reassured that you and your spouse still love your children (and each other), even if you no longer live together. You and your former spouse should strive to spend quality time with your children. Work with them on an individual level to understand how they’re feeling and what they’re going through in the midst of all these changes. The stronger your family bonds are, the easier it will be for your children to cope with divorce.
Seek Professional Family Counseling (The Entire Family)
Family counseling is a great venue for parents and children of divorce alike to learn about each other and get through major obstacles in their lives. While you can seek out family counseling with just you and your children, it would be best if your former spouse could be involved as well. You are still tied to one another, even if you are no longer married. You should work together with mutual parenting goals to keep your children happy and healthy. By going to counseling together, you will show your children that you both care about their well-being and that you want to make life as pleasant as it possibly can be.
If you have not gotten a divorce yet, consider completing divorce prevention counseling. It does not matter if you are facing financial stress, infidelity, sexual incompatibilities, or something else entirely. With the help of a professional marriage counselor, you may be able to save your marriage and rekindle your love for your spouse. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644, and we will match you with a counselor or therapist who specializes in your individual needs.