Has Your Child Changed Since the Divorce?

 

  • Have changes in your family led to behavioral issues in your child?
  • Is the divorce process just beginning and you want your child to have extra support?
  • Are you angry or frustrated with your child frequently since the divorce?

Divorce can be a painful transition for each member of the family, but children are the most vulnerable to the changes that take place in a divorce.  Your child may feel the divorce is somehow his or her fault, even after you have explained that it is not.  Divorce can be extremely challenging for your child as he or she feels powerless to change the decision.

You may have begun to notice changes in your child.  Your once bubbly and curious child is now having tantrums and seems down.  You have done your best to try and talk with your child about what is happening, only to get the response, “I’m fine!”  Perhaps the child you once knew so well is no longer the same kid.  Are you exhausted from dealing with your child’s behaviors or worrying about him or her, or are you becoming angry or frustrated with your child more frequently?

Most Children in Divorced Families Go Through Struggles

With the divorce rate around 50 percent for American families the effects of divorce on children are prevalent. Children may show difficult behaviors during or after the divorce. Children are not equipped with the verbal language skills that adults have so behavior becomes their language.  This can be disruptive to the family as the child’s communication is interpreted as misbehavior, leading to consequences and punishments rather than dialogue and understanding.  A child may be trying to express anger about the limited time spend with their other parent or sadness about having to repeatedly leave two parents they love. Or he or she may fear additional changes that cannot be controlled.

The effects of divorce on children includes the loss of the family the child once had. Your child needs time to grieve before beginning to adjust to the “new normal” for your family. With the help of a compassionate and experienced therapist, your child can work through the grief, confusion and anger he or she may be experiencing and learn to adjust to the changes in the family.

Therapy Can Help Overcome the Effects of Divorce on Children

All children experience difficult emotions during or after divorce.  The Marriage and Family Therapists at Alkira have extensive knowledge in working with children, youth and families. We understand the effects of divorce on children and the challenging transitions that can occur. We use creative approaches, activities and play equipment, as well as suggesting changes at home.  Whether the divorce is currently in process, about to begin or happened years ago, therapy can help your child heal and grow.

In our initial session we like to meet with you, the parent. We understand that both parents may not want to meet together and we can make accommodations to meet with each individually. If one parent is unwilling to participate, we will still want to meet to explore how we can help. This session is designed for your therapist to hear about your concerns and the challenges your family is experiencing due to divorce and the effects of divorce on children. From here we come up with treatment specially designed for you, your child and family.

Non-directive play therapy is used to promote healing with your young child.  We use this approach to gain understanding of the challenges your child is facing.  Children use play as a form of communication, and child-centered play therapy allows your child to work through the difficult emotions associated with the divorce, guided by a knowledgeable and compassionate therapist. We identify the emotions your child is struggling with as well as any repeating painful or frustrating themes that may have resulted from the effects of divorce on children. From here we offer support and guidance to help him or her learn healthier responses.

Directive play therapy is used with older youth who use verbal communication in addition to play to express themselves. At this age your son or daughter might actually request counseling to help with what he or she is feeling. Youth don’t necessarily see divorce as a cause for their troubles, and sometimes the trouble is in the relationships and family arrangements post-divorce.

The therapists at Alkira use flexible, creative approaches to help your child and family understand the difficult emotions and the effects of divorce on children.  Your therapist will build a positive relationship with your child by validating their feelings and getting to know them. We then use talk therapy, storytelling and other activities that facilitate thought and discussion – like artwork or music – to resolve the feelings and situation. In this way we can help your child strengthen his or her sense of self and identity.

Positive and collaborative relationships are important at Alkira, and phone calls and check-in parent sessions are a key part of your child’s success as he or she continues in the therapeutic process. It is essential to our therapists that parents are a part of the treatment process and that your child has a team to support his or her healing during or after the divorce.

But You May Still Question if Therapy is Right for Your Child…

I Think My Child Could Benefit From Therapy, but My Ex-Spouse Does Not.

Under shared legal custody, both parents need to agree and sign off on your child receiving therapy services.  We understand this is a difficult time and that communication may be strained.  Our compassionate therapists are willing to speak with both parents regarding the therapeutic process and can call and/or meet with each individually if necessary.  If you are sure your co-parent will refuse therapy for your child, reach out to us. We can explore alternatives to encourage him or her to support your child’s healing.

Therapy Interferes with the Already Limited Time I Have with My Child

We understand that the time you have with your child is precious.  Sessions can range from 30-50 minutes, depending on the age and needs of your child and family.  Providing time for your child to work through difficult emotions and experiences with a knowledgeable therapist will improve your connection and help your youth be more successful socially and at school.  Committing to therapy now may also help avoid problems your child could face in the future.

Going to Therapy is Abnormal…

Millions of people seek therapy every year and leave as healthier individuals capable of having successful, satisfying relationships and lives. Children are particularly vulnerable to being bullied, teased and ostracized, and these experiences make it more likely your child will not be able to function normally. Therapy helps to correct that course and redirect your child onto a healthy path.

We follow completely confidential methods to protect you and your child’s privacy. Our empathic, caring therapists make therapy a safe and comfortable space for you and your child.

Your Child Can Heal from the Divorce

If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you may have regarding therapy for your child or the effects of divorce on children, we are available at 315 492-1390 or alkiratherapy@gmail.com. We return all calls and emails within 24 business hours, have appointments available after school and on most Saturdays and can typically schedule a first appointment within one week.