When is it time to seek professional help when a family is going through a divorce?
Divorce for the whole family is one of life’s most major transitional points. Getting counseling for an individual and the family to discuss the changes that are occurring and the feelings that are being experienced is important.
Just talking in a neutral place with a professional who listens with unconditional regard can be very healing and insightful. This will help minimize the effects of divorce on children.
All people at some point in the first month to first year during divorce should sit down for a few hours and talk to a professional about how they’re doing with the changing family.
It’s more of a question of when to talk to someone, not should you.
Your child’s grief can impact their every day activities.
For example, not doing their homework, not wanting to go to school, having stomach aches or headaches. Things that are impeding on them and not allowing them to participate in their normal day to day activities like suddenly not inviting friends over, not going to friends, or denying invites to gatherings.
These are all red flags that your child is not thriving and they’re trying to hide out and burrow in from the pain that they’re feeling from the transition of divorce.
A really important one that a parent can miss is when a child asks to go and speak to a professional but they aren’t showing any signs. Often, a parent will look at it like their child is doing well and they’re not showing any signs. By asking to go, and then being denied, the child can feel like they are being minimized.
You always want to honor your child’s requests. If they ask to go and speak to a professional, you want to let them know that you heard them, and you will find someone for them to go talk to.
Some kids are great at disguising the emotional pain that they’re feeling inside. The unraveling can take months or years for the pain to reveal itself.
So, if your child asks, honor their request. Find a professional you can have a session with and build a rapport, so you can have someone to consult with along the journey.
It is my strong recommendation that everyone throughout the first year of divorce, should have a few hours to sit and talk to a professional.
Dr. SueAnne Magyar-Hill
Founder of Empowering Children Of Divorce
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