Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.com

Divorces are often hard for everyone, especially children. With so much pain, emotion and frustration involved in the situation, it is easy for parents to lose sight of how their actions can affect their children. Here are a few ways to minimize the effects of divorce on children.

Communication

Divorces are often life changing situations where the lines of communication often break down between all parties that are involved. In nasty divorces, the parents tend to yell and argue with each other, and the children tend to become angry and withdrawn. Instead of resorting to negative behavior in an effort to make yourself heard, try communicating in a normal and positive manner. Both parents have to make a conscious effort to restore the lines of communication so that their children do not blame themselves or their parents and resort to holding their emotions inside. Continue reading

Getting Through Your Divorce with Therapy

Therapy | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comDivorce is never a simple thing. With years of pent up anger, guilt, shame, and myriad other emotions brewing between two people who once thought that they would spend the rest of their lives happily together, divorce is often one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life. When you add children into the mix, things get even more complicated. While the two consenting adults may be better off apart, children rarely are and don’t get a say in the matter. This can be a particularly damaging situation for children as they search for answers to why their parents no longer love each other. Continue reading

Try Art Therapy As a Way To Work Through Your Parents’ Divorce

Art Therapy | DivorceAdviceforChildren.comIf your parents are going through a divorce, there’s a good chance that it’s taking its toll on you. There’s a good chance that you’re feeling many emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, or fear. Sometimes it’s difficult to have to manage all these emotions, and it can be even more difficult to find a way to express them in words.

Art therapy is a tool you can use to work through your emotions. It’s a form of therapy that works with the images in your mind. At times, when the mind and heart is inflicted by heavy emotions and challenging thoughts, art is a way to easily and safely express what’s going on inside. Along with emotions and thoughts that are difficult to bear, you might even have images that show up in your mind. For example, you might have an image of what it might be like after your parents’ divorce, such as living with your father and what that might be like. Or you might have an image of living far from your friends, and this image might invoke sadness or anxiety. Continue reading

Girls: Stay Close To Your Parents During Divorce

DivorceYou might get mad, hate them, and swear that you’re never going to speak to them again. You might feel broken in a way that you haven’t before.

The truth is for girls and female teens, relationships are important. This is not to say that relationships aren’t important for boys too; they are. But research shows that divorce can have a stronger negative impact on teenage girls, who tend to define themselves through relationships, connection to others, and bonds with friends and family. For this reason, although you hate them, see if you can find a way to communicate your feelings and fears. Find a way to keep your relationship with your parents close.

When the structure of a girl’s family, a structure they’ve known throughout their lives is disrupted, an internal structure is also at risk for breaking down. Girls tend to be socialized by their mothers and tend to be more obedient and responsible than boys. Because of this, you might keep your emotions to yourself. You might conceal how you really feeling in order to tend to your mother’s (or father’s) adjustment to the change and make the appearance that everything is all right.

However, although you might conceal your feelings, you might also have a delayed reaction to your emotions, which might later come on quietly. For instance, some girls might feel shame, which can lead to low self-esteem, and self blame. This might also lead to choosing partners that do not treat you the way you should be treated and having unhealthy relationships.

The strong relationships a daughter has with each of her parents can provide a buffer to the intensity of a divorce. Supportive parents can help weather the stormy home life of a divorce. They can help maintain or at least re-build the stability that girls need. But if your family also has domestic violence or other forms of family violence, such as child abuse or emotional abuse, it will be more difficult for girls to get the steadiness they need. Children, including boys, need structure. When the family unit is broken, that structure deteriorates.

Girls, to be able to make it through divorce of your parents, especially when other factors exist in the family, like addiction or domestic violence, it’s important to get outside help. Find a mental health professional to work with, a support group, or other means of professional help.

And throughout it all, your individual relationships with your parents are important. The relationship you have with her mother is significant. For some girls, the mother-daughter relationship suffers after divorce. However, if you have a strong bond from the beginning, that bond can serve as a protective factor during the split. This is also true for your relationship with your father. Since most girls will side with their mother during a divorce, a young girl might have significant issues of trust if she is not able to heal her relationship with her father before, during, or after a divorce.

Although it’s challenging, keep your relationships with each of your parents alive. Continue to share your feelings, your fears, your frustrations. Doing so will only bring you closer.

If Your Parents Are Divorcing, Don’t Do Drugs, Try This

Support GroupIf your parents are going through a divorce, there’s a lot you must be feeling. There’s a lot you’re probably going through. Although there’s very little that can actually take the pain away, there are many resources that can help you manage the pain. And that’s what this article will provide. It will give you some resources so that you can help yourself get through a challenging time.

First, you should know that depending on your age, you’re going to experience different things. As you can imagine, divorce can have significant impacts on the children of the family. However, those influences depend on the age(s) of the children, and they are far more significant if children are under the age of 5. Nonetheless, the consequences for pre-teens and adolescents can create a lot of havoc. There are significant concerns for teens as a result of divorce, even without notice at first, that warrants attention, tenderness, and care. For example, depression might arise slowly and get more serious over time if not tended to. The point is depending on your age, you might be feeling more of an impact from the divorce.

Research shows that pre-teens and adolescents who experience a divorce suffer in their self-esteem, academic performance, peer relationships, behavior, and physical health. It might be obvious that mental health issues also begin to surface such as teen anxiety and teen depression. Suddenly, you might feel an instability in the family structure. You might feel as though you’re free to try what you want. You might think to yourself, “Well, my parents are caught up in the divorce, so they won’t notice the drug experimentation that I do.”

But don’t let yourself be fooled by this. Even though you might be pulled to use drugs, especially because they can feel like a way to cope with difficult feelings, those drugs are dangerous and could lead to addiction, poor grades, risky situations, ruined friendships, and self-harm. Here’s what can happen as a result of divorce, and drugs can only make it worse:

  • Academic problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stress and worry
  • Sadness or anger towards one or both parents
  • Depression
  • Suicidal Ideation and perhaps attempts
  • Having trouble with authority at school or with the police
  • Trouble getting along with siblings, peers, and parents
  • Getting involved with sexual activity

 

Yes, the divorce your parents are going through can create challenging emotions in you like embarrassment, fear that your parents will abandon you, grief, worry about your parents’ well being, anxiety about who you’re going to live with, fear that one of your parents will forget about you, and maybe even an unrealistic hope that your parents will get back together, setting you up for disappointment. Despite all of these feelings, don’t let drugs be your coping mechanism. Instead, try the items listed below.

  • Join a support group of other children your age whose parents are going through a divorce.
  • Find a mental health professional and start attending therapy. This can be a way to get your feelings out with someone you can trust.
  • Find friends whose parents went through a divorce. Talk to them and find out what it was like for them.
  • Journal, write poetry, dance, draw. Art can be a way to get your feelings out too.

Research also shows that divorce can have a stronger negative impact than other events like moving, a new sibling in the family, the death of a family member, or illness. Because it can be so challenging, it’s important to get the help  you need. See if you can find a teacher, counselor, or another adult you trust to support you.

 

Group Therapy Can Help When Your Parents Divorce

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t like therapy – it’s too corny, it’s lame, and it doesn’t actually work.

Alright, this might be your first reaction, but have you ever tried group therapy? Have you ever been in a group of kids your age who are all talking about the same thing? Imagine being in a circle and everyone else is talking about how their parents are divorcing too. Even the ones who seem to have it altogether are saying how hard it is and what they’re doing to cope. Imagine what it would be like to hear from someone else, your age, the exact feelings your feeling yourself. Imagine what a relief that would be.

“I think the hardest thing about divorce,” said a 17-year old girl from New York, “is that you find out your parents aren’t perfect. I saw my mom crying and my dad screaming. My father burned my books because he thought my mother was influencing me to read them.”

What’s great about group therapy is that you get to hear what you may not be able to express yourself. You might be feeling incredibly sad, and then when one of your friends in the circle says, “Gosh, it’s been so hard, and I feel so sad that my family is breaking up,” it might feel like a weight has been lifted. Plus, hearing this might give you the freedom to finally say what has been hard for you to express. And finally being able to say what you couldn’t up until now can be incredibly healing.

So, what is group therapy?

It’s a unique form of therapy where the benefits come from not only the relationship with the therapist, as in individual therapy, but also from the other participants in the group. Basically, there is one or more therapist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional facilitating treatment for a group of children. Participants of group therapy usually experience the same diagnosis or life challenge, like in this case, parents divorcing. Typically, everyone in the room, aside from the therapist, is experiencing the same struggle, which is why the group can become a supportive community. Group therapy for children of parents who are getting a divorce can be incredibly helpful and healing.

The greatest part about group therapy is the community. In a community of others who are struggling with the same life challenge, you can find support, love, friendship, and safety. In the community of a group, you might be able to make it through the divorce your parents are going through.