GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – Divorce is one of the most stressful events in a family’s life. Everyone is impacted. Parents are often feeling betrayed and angry and are dealing with the grief surrounding the death of their marriage. Along with their own issues parents worry whether their children are feeling these same emotions and whether the divorce will have a permanent effect on their children’s psyche.
Most attorneys highly advise that their clients get a therapist to assist them through the stress of a divorce. How do you know when your children need the same assistance? According to Kate Scharff, psychotherapist and author (You”re Gettting divorced: Does Your Child Need Therapy? Huntington Post, 7/13) “I’d be worried about any child who didn’t have a hard time coping with it. So, if your child Is showing signs of stress does that mean they need treatment? Not necessarily.” She says that if your child expresses distress they may be looking for reassurance and letting them know that you are available to talk about it will help.
There are children that have more difficulty coping with a divorce of the family and parents often question how to tell if their child needs professional assistance. “Erring on the side of caution by getting a consultation is a good idea.” Scharff explains. There are general clues parents can look for that your child probably needs therapy, but since each child is different there are no blanket lists. Below are symptoms Scharff suggests parents look for that could indicate that your child would benefit from professional counseling. Some are physical symptoms and if your child exhibits a physical symptom a trip to the doctor to assure you that there are no underlying medical issues should be your first step.
- Problems eating or sleeping
- Difficulty separating with either parent
- Persistent sad mood
- Headaches or stomach aches that reoccur often
- Disinterest in friends or difficulty getting along with friends
- Declining school performance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Agitation, fidgeting or aggressive behaviors
- Decrease in self-esteem
- Fatigue or apathy
- Risky behavior or acting out
- Rudeness and back talk
- Drinking and drug use
- Excessive lying
- Obsessive or compulsive rituals that are new
- Preoccupation with death