Divorce can be a huge stressor for adults and children. None of us enter into a marriage with the intention of it ending. When divorce happens, it can bring feelings of depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, change in appetite, shame, guilt, and major financial concerns. Often it is much easier to talk to a therapist about these issues than to talk to friends or family who may have vested interests in the relationship.
If you are considering divorce, consider Collaborative Divorce.
Helping Children Adjust to Divorce
If you are considering divorce, your children do not necessarily have to suffer long-term negative consequences. There are many things that you as a parent can say and do to prepare your children for your divorce. It helps to keep in mind that your responses to your children have a profound impact on whether they will adjust well or suffer emotional difficulties following divorce. There are also several therapeutic children’s books, listed below, that can help them begin to identify worries and express feelings. Taking time to read these books with children can help them to bring up important questions and issues.
Tell children about the divorce only after there is a definite decision to divorce.
Have both parents talk to all the children together about the divorce, when possible.
Be factual and explain the divorce in ways children can understand.
Repeatedly reassure children that the divorce is not their fault, since children often blame themselves.
Give children permission to love and have an on-going positive relationship with both parents.
Reassure children that their relationship with both parents will continue.
Invite and encourage children to tell you how they feel and to ask you questions.
Accept and validate children’s feelings when they do express them. (“It’s OK to feel sad, angry, afraid, confused, etc.”).
Offer understanding and supportive responses.
Reassure children that you will always love them.
Try to talk children out of what they feel.
Continually argue in front of them.
Pressure them to take sides against the other parent.
Express anger in overt or subtle ways at the other parent or put the other parent down in front of the children.
Blame the other parent for the divorce in the presence of children.
Tell children inappropriate details about the marital relationship, such as marital infidelities, etc.
Put children in the adult role of confidante and expect children to comfort parents.
Use children to send messages to the other parent instead of communicating directly themselves with their ex-spouse.
Blame children for marital conflicts or for the divorce.
Provide inconsistent discipline and structure following the divorce.
Provide inconsistent disciplinary structure following the divorce.
If your family is struggling with these issues, you may consider Collaborative Divorce, Individual, Couples or Family therapy to deal with the challenges a divorce may present.
Appointments are available in our offices in Wexford, Robinson Township and Squirrel Hill.