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Post-Divorce: Does My Child Need Therapy

September 08, 2015

It is no secret that divorce is tough on children, but does that mean that every child should attend therapy after their parents’ divorce? Not necessarily. Every child is different and sometimes a child’s irritable behavior or stress is simply a healthy reaction to the change he or she is experiencing. If that’s true, putting them into therapy could have a negative effect. Remember, your child is not the problem, and you don’t want to do anything that could make him or her think otherwise.

There are however a few signs that may indicate post-divorce therapy is necessary for your child. If any of the following occurs during or after your divorce, it may be in your child’s best interest to see a licensed therapist:

  • Anger and/or physical aggression
  • Impulsive, risk-taking behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Unusual health problems
  • Anxiety

Although the above behaviors may signal that your child needs professional help, the best indicator for determining whether your child needs therapy may be comparing normal and abnormal behavior for your child. If your child’s behavior during or after your divorce is drastically different from his or her behavior before the divorce, the change should not be ignored.

Therapy can be extremely beneficial for both you and your child. A therapist can give you an unbiased opinion on whether or not your child is having issues as a result of the divorce. Therapy can also be a “safe place” for your child. A therapist is an objective third party who your child can confide in and express his or her feelings without the fear of hurting a parent’s feelings. Therapy can provide the following benefits to your child:

  • Release pent-up emotions
  • Develop coping skills
  • Develop the ability to deal with stress
  • Develop perspective on both divorce and non-divorce related issues in his or her life.

Allowing your child to attend therapy does not does not always have to be a long-term process. You may find that therapy helps your child open up to you regarding his or her feelings about the divorce and move forward. Pay special attention to your child’s behavior and mannerisms to gauge whether therapy is necessary following your divorce.

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