Therapy is tough. In order for therapy to be successful, the person participating needs to be open to talking about uncomfortable subjects, feeling vulnerable, and displaying very personal emotions. It’s hard, even for adults, and so it can feel practically impossible for kids. Especially when they can’t see the long-term benefits, and it feels like just one more thing in life they didn’t ask for and don’t want. So what do you do when your kid obviously needs therapy to help them work through the pain of a divorce, but they don’t want to go?
There are a number of tactics that parents can use when introducing the subject of therapy, and while their child is involved in therapy. These are approaches that can help to make therapy less scary and more acceptable to children. On the flip side, there are also some things that parents really shouldn’t do if they’re hoping to help their kids accept therapy as a normal part of life. Let’s take a look…
What you should do:
Discussing therapy as if it were a shameful secret, or something embarrassing, will only make it harder for your kids. No kid wants to be forced to do something that makes them “weird” or “different” from their peers. So talk about going to therapy as if it were a perfectly normal, totally ordinary part of life.
That way your kids will get used to the idea that therapy isn’t something abnormal. Like choosing a healthy diet or selecting a physical activity as a hobby, it’s something that many people do to make their lives better. This does NOT however, mean that you should talk about your kids therapy sessions in front of other people. This may embarrass them even more and cause resentment.
Support healing outside of appointments:
One of the best ways you can help your kid grow and heal is to support the suggestions and implementations made by the therapist. For example, if the therapist suggests that your kid takes more walks to get them moving in the fresh air (to help with depression) then make a point of supporting that. Suggest daily walks (go along if your kids are too young to go alone), or find supplementary physical activity for your kids if the weather is bad.
If the therapist suggest engaging in sports, participating in community events, doing art, or journaling as part of your child’s healing, then encourage your kids to engage in those activities. Healing doesn’t just happen in the therapist’s office. So by supporting them, both in and out of therapy, you help them heal and move on more effectively.
Allow your kids to express themselves:
One of the major goals of therapy is processing emotions and feelings. So make sure your kids know they’re free to share with you how they’re feeling, even if what they have to say makes you sad or uncomfortable.
Listen them when they talk about what’s on their minds, and validate their feelings, even if you don’t like what you hear. Knowing that you’re free to share what’s on your heart and mind, and that you’ll be loved and accepted no matter what, goes a long way towards helping with healing.
Divorce is hard on everyone, so get the support you need!
Good divorce lawyers are up-to-date on Michigan law and have years of experience. They know what to fight for, and how to get it. If you’re considering a divorce, and don’t know where to turn for quality legal representation and top-of-the-line counsel during every aspect of your divorce, contact us today at 866 766 5245. We can help you every step of the way, and are always available for crisis intervention and emergencies. Join us next time, for a break down of what you SHOULDN’T do when your kid needs therapy but doesn’t want to go!