Child counseling after divorce
Telling the children
If possible, tell the children together. This shows that “mommy and daddy” still love each other enough to be in the same room. Children will already be traumatized by the idea of divorce and separation, not having both parents present when being told will make it more traumatic for your child. Put heavy emphasis on the fact that the divorce/separation is not their fault. Statistics show over and over that children, especially young ones, immediately blame themselves when the family unit breaks down.
Finding a good counselor
Many parents begin looking online or within their healthcare network to find a good counselor for their child or children. I believe the best referrals are word of mouth. There are many practicing counselors who may seem wonderful after reviewing their websites, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to success for your family. Although as a parent you may feel embarrassed at first, ask your friends if they know of a good counselor. Once you find a good counselor, your work as a parent doesn’t stop there. Another good tip to remember is using multiple resources. Everything from books to online resources can serve as a “community of help” for you and your family.
Forming effective communication with the other parent
Although this can prove to be very difficult at times, if each parent can remember to put their personal feelings aside, families can find common ground. Remind yourself everyday that the children come first. Put aside your hurt, anger, resentment and hostility. These emotions only end up hurting your children in the end.
Enhancing your child’s life after divorce
· Positive experiences/trips – zoos, museums, parks.
· Avoiding negative talk about the other parent.
· Focus on success on school – go over the top in providing compliments/encouragements.
· Keep routines that existed before the divorce – as much as possible (children need stability)
· Find one day a week to do something special together – maybe a trip for yogurt. It’s important that children not feel left behind during the divorce.
In my situation, I was not fortunate enough to have an agreeable partner to share in explaining the divorce to my children. I also was alone in dealing with the impending aftermath of emotions and acting out. The things that helped my children and I most was stability – keeping them in the same schools. Utilizing multiple sources to helped navigate the turbulence. This meant counseling, book reading and leaning on friends. The number one thing I remember is never speaking negatively about my ex. This did wonders for my relationship with my children. It also allowed for them to judge for themselves the type of parent their dad was.