Divorce is a very hard for everyone involved, but sometimes children struggle the most. And sometimes, their difficulties aren’t the kind that a few extra cuddles and a cupcake can fix. Sometimes they need more help than a parent can provide in order to heal, which is where counselors and therapists come in.
Does your child need counseling after your divorce?
Are there signs you should look for? Does a child who is struggling with their parent’s divorce exhibit certain behaviors and symptoms that serve as red flags for concerned parents? Yes indeed! Although each child is different, most mental health specialists will tell you that there are some very common signs, usually in the form of changes from the norm, that you need to keep a look out for. These include:
- Changes in their usual behavior (this can include any significant changes, from increased temper tantrums through to being more withdrawn)
- Changes in sleeping patterns (this can include a child who struggles to go to sleep, or stay asleep, or a child who suddenly wants to sleep so much more than usual. It can also refer to nightmares and bedwetting.)
- Changes in grades and school performance
- Changes in mood and personality (this can include sudden bouts of anger, regular periods of sadness, changes in personality, increased aggression, destructive behaviors, or any other differences your child might develop.)
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in appearance (this can include suddenly wanting to make drastic appearance changes, like dying their hair, altering their wardrobe without explanation, or getting pierced or tattooed without permission)
- Changes in social activities (a child who was always social who is suddenly withdrawn, or a child who was always a wallflower who suddenly takes risks and starts “running with a rougher crowd“)
It’s perfectly normal for children to struggle during and even after their parents divorces. Feeling helpless, frightened, anxious, angry and sad are all normal emotional reactions for a child. So don’t assume that your child needs professional help simply because they are sad or upset. It’s when those emotions reach an intensity that makes them hard for your child to manage, or they hamper your child’s ability to deal with the stressors of daily life, that you need to consider getting them help.
Also, bear in mind that children are not all cut from the same cloth. What can be devastating to one child, can be sad but understandable to another. Consider your child’s coping skills, temperament, and age when deciding if they need help to cope with the changes.
Do you need help with your divorce or custody arrangements?
Divorce can be a very difficult time for everyone, so let us help you as you navigate the process. If you or a loved one are considering a divorce in Michigan, or have questions about your child custody arrangements, call us 24/7 at 866 766 5245. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you every step of the way. Join us next time for part two in this discussion on what to do if your child is struggling with your divorce and needs more help than you can offer.