Good Essay On Counseling Children Of Divorced Parents

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Children, Parents, Marriage, Divorce, Psychology, Therapy, Conversation

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/10

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Divorces can be hard for children and can have a number of different long-term effects like poverty, early marriages, a reduced interest in studies, drug addiction and failed marriages. To avoid the said harm, parents need to tread very carefully when breaking the news of the divorce to the child. They must do so as a team and at the right time, sparing the child all the gory details. If the child is still affecting, doctors can use group therapy, creative intervention, individual play therapy and group play therapy to help the child. Teacher and parents’ counselling sessions help provide a general overview of the situation.
Academic research on children has shown psychologists that the people who are most negatively affected when a divorce happens. In many cases, it has been proven that children of divorced parents start blaming themselves for what has happened. They think that it is something they have done or the way they act that causes their parents to fight constantly and to lash out at each other unnecessarily. Children under thirteen, especially those that are still about six or seven years old have a very fragile and impressionable mind that can get influenced by anything and everything. Their ability to be influenced by the smallest changes in life is vast. Thus, their ability to be changed by the bigger changes in life is even stronger.

The Potential Effects of Divorce on Children

A nasty and difficult divorce can be as hard for children as it will be for the parents, probably even harder since they actually have no one to talk to it about. Most children get scared of their parents fighting all the time and end up crying in dark corners over the impending doom. It is quite well known that before a full blown divorce, parents start getting annoyed and disinterested in each other. The signs are extremely subtle and, therefore; children are unable to tell if something is wrong. When suddenly the subtleties emerge into full blown arguments, it is like the children’s perfect world comes crumbling down, and they do not know what has gone wrong. The shock they get from this sudden realization is so strong that the effects can last an entire lifetime.
The long-term implications of a divorce on children can be strong. For one thing, many children end up with lesser education than their counterparts in a normal family. This can be caused by the changed economic condition as now, there is only one earning member in the family. Also, it can be caused by changes in behavior. “Most children who have seen their parents go through a divorce are less interested in studies than children with normal families.” (Geldard, 2013).
Children can also end up experiencing poverty or other socio-economic disadvantages when they shift in with a single parent. Initial poverty is highly likely if the parent they move in with was not working prior to the divorce. They may end up living in a poor neighborhood with a negative social environment, and the kids can get influenced by what they see out on the streets. Poor economic conditions can also lead to hunger and malnutrition.
Anti-social behavior is highly common in children who have experienced the effects of a bad divorce. While parents are mentally strong enough to deal with the emotional hardships, children are emotionally very fragile. Many times, parents forget to talk to their children during these arguments, and since children have no one else to talk to, they start feeling isolated and disassociate themselves from society. A divorce can give rise to a number of different behavioral problems in children.
When children feel isolated and have no one to talk to, they start to get lonely and feel as if no one truly understands them or cares about them. Therefore, they try to find solace in drugs and/or alcohol. The consumption, which at that point is only present to help them fight depression and loneliness can quickly go on to become an addiction that lasts for a lifetime. According to studies, children who have suffered from a divorce are more susceptible to drug-related habits than those who have a normal family.
Another common occurrence in children who have suffered from a divorce is the “fact that many of them, feeling unloved and not cared for, often grow up to rush into child marriages and marry at their whims.” (Kruk, 2010). If not that, then they will usually have one night stands or one-off sexual experiences which can lead to teen pregnancies if they do not get over the trauma of a divorce.
It has also been known that children who experience a divorce in their families at a very young age are more susceptible to grow up and get a divorce themselves. This happens because the kids’ only experience of marriage has come from their parents, and they take their cue from them. Their reactions, demands, expectations and experiences in a marriage are quite similar to those they saw in their own parents’ marriage. Therefore, fights are more likely and unions may end up in separation.
Lastly, it is apt to say that since every child is different, and every child has different needs and expectations from their parents, every child will react differently to their parents’ separation. While some might turn out to be normal and unbothered, others will be deeply influenced and will have a lasting impact on their minds. However, it is still better to be cautious and to try and lessen the implications of one’s divorce on the child. Parents must make sure that their child goes through specific counseling sessions to ensure that their minds remain unaffected by the potentially harmful trauma.

Telling Children about the Divorce

The most important step that parents need to take with their children is to tell that their mom and dad are no longer happy with each other and, therefore, they cannot stay together. Parents must make sure that they convey to their child that even though they will no longer live together, there are no negative feelings towards their child and they still continue to love him/her and care for him/her as they used to. It is the duty of the parents to make sure that their child, in no way, blames themselves for the tragic turn of events and the parents must, therefore, give their child a concrete reason for the separation.
Before parents break the news to their child, they must be aware of what their child knows about the concept of divorce. They may have heard from their friends what it constitutes. For example, they may have friends who have parents who live separately or they may know that after a separation, children are supposed to live with either their mother or their father. “One thing all parents can expect from their child is the interest; in how their life will be affected, who they will live with and if they will have to change their school.”(Fidler, 2010). There will be a lot of inevitable questions, and all parents need to be aware of the fact that they will have to come up with good answers that are not only honest but offer some great confidence-boosting messages.
It is necessary for the parents to get the timing right when they decide to break the news of the divorce to their children. If parents are still mulling over whether or not they want to get a divorce, it is best to keep the information secret for the time being. If parents tell their children about the problems they are facing without deciding on the solution first, then it is highly likely that children will get confused and will not know what to expect in the future. It is best to break the news to them once everything has been finalized so that they do not have to mull over things for too long.
Also, when parents decide to break the news to their child, they must do it together at all costs. Even though it is inevitable, do not let the kids believe that the family is breaking up. Even if parents disagree on every other thing in the world, they must agree on what they want to tell their child. Tell the child that the separation is a mutual decision and that both mummy and daddy agree to it. Show the child that the family is still a team despite some big changes coming up in the future. “If parents tell them together, the kid will only hear one version of the news and confusion will be avoided.” (Jaffe, 2010).
It is important to keep the talk simple. There is no need for the child to know the gory details of the coupe’s fallout as it may make them feel insecure. The use of language that the child will understand is very important since divorce is an otherwise complicated situation. Do not use harsh words and try to disguise or hide the tragic reality of the situation. Instead of separation, use the words “taking a break”. Most of all, tell the child that they will still regularly get to see both parents and will still be a huge part of both their lives.
Apart from telling the child that it is not their fault, the blame game must be avoided at all costs. “Do not tamper with the child’s perception of his/her parents as their innocence will be harmed and their relationship with their parents will be affected.” (Storksen, 2012).Moreover, if both parents start blaming each other for the fallout, the child will be confused and will not know the real reason behind the separation. He/she may end up blaming them for the sudden change. In fact, parents must avoid arguing in front of their children and try to act normal while they are around no matter how difficult it is.

Treatment and Interventions

No matter how careful parents are, it is still highly likely that their child somehow gets affected when the perfect family breaks and shatters. It is the duty of the parents to hire professional help to ensure that their children do not get affected in the long-term and to analyze the child’s response to the family shakeup. Most child psychiatrists believe that even if your child is acting normally, chances are, they have been affected by the divorce and are trying to hide how deeply it has hurt them. Therefore, it is important to take a trip to the shrink so that children can better cope with the divorce.
Many approve of the fact that parenting should be the original focus for kids of separating families. When parents are at odds, it is significant that there be an impartial third party to arbitrate arguments, resolve battles, and inspire teamwork. Divorce arbitration has been revealed to reduce personal arguments between the parents. Mediation emphasizes on the household as a structure that is regrouping and forming a new arrangement. “Couples who used an impartial third party to decide conflicts about economic and supervisory arrangements were more likely to be collaborating on a weekly schedule after the divorce.” (Nijnatten, 2011).
Advising both parents and kids prior to the divorce was supposed to aid in the change at the time of the split-up. Other psychoanalysts have advised individual parent with the kids since this grouping more precisely demonstrated the post-divorce relations and household structure. Separate treatment for a parent with definite worries or problems can also be valuable in certain cases. Treating children independently is known to be a last option, suitable only when the parents cannot or will not partake. All these interferences, though, have shown slight, if any, efficiency.
Group therapy for kids in the practice of mate-support clusters dedicated to divorce has been constantly effective in researchers to date. “The most obviously and consistently efficient intrusion has been divorce arbitration. Solving conflict amongst the two parents is the utmost stress reliever in divorce for both the parents and the kids.” (Overland, 2013).
Creative intervention is also known to be highly effective. Through this therapy program, children get a way to relieve their anger, frustration and depression by working on pieces of art. They use different colors to signify how they feel and different shapes as well. It has also been found that while doing artwork, children will find it easier to talk to their therapists and open up to them. If the therapists took part in the artwork too, children are more likely to open up to them than they are even to their parents. Creative intervention is a great way to give release to the many different jumbles of emotions flowing through the kids’ minds.
Individual play therapy is another great way to treat divorce trauma. In play therapy, children are supposed to vent out their frustrations by playing with their toys or taking part in individual outdoor activities. Initially, the child may not react much; they may just look at the toys or touch them randomly, showing no other signs of interest. However, if ones leave them there for the right amount of time, something is bound to happen sooner or later. “It is better to conduct individual play therapy by placing the child within kids who are playing with toys as well (not necessary divorce affected children).” (Mahmud, 2011). This will really help motivate them into playing some games themselves. Teachers and other caretakers need to constantly encourage the child to play with the toys as well to show them that they are not being ignored by their elders. The session will also help clear the child’s head and make them drop wishful ideas that may never come true.

Collaborative interventions in the forms of group play therapy, teacher involvement, and parent collaboration are possible too.

During group play therapy, many different children were brought together to talk about a number of different things like habits, likes, dislikes, experiences and other such topics. Mostly in such sessions, children are given a number of toys to play with, and while they do so, they regularly engage in conversations about their families. Now, since the group also consists of many different children who have gotten over their parents’ divorce, conversations with freshly divorced families’ kids will help a lot. One person in the group is usually encouraging and urges others t o speak up and share their experiences will other children. Group therapy sessions help restore feelings of sharing, caring and friendship in children.
Moving on, counseling help from the parents “can really help increase the speed of the recovery by providing an account of how things unfolded during the divorce.” (Gauvreau, 2012). They also give psychiatrists a clear picture of what the child is missing from the parents’ side and why they act in a certain way. Psychiatrists may be able to highlight a habit of the parents which was greatly affecting their child negatively. For example, arguments bursting out in front of the kids really have a negative effect on children and must be avoided when possible. The session can also help the kids understand their parents’ point-of-view better.
It is important for the teachers to show constant encouragement and special care to children suffering from divorce. Most teachers continue to treat children the same way, regardless. However, it is important for teachers to change their attitude towards these children. Reprimands must be reduced and replaced by loving talk where the teachers highlight the increased importance of schoolwork and how it is necessary that children pay more attention to their studies. Teachers must become parents while the divorce is still going on since that aspect of the child’s life is largely absent as couples deal with their problems.
Lastly, a strong support system in the form of parents, teachers and therapists must be firmly in place for all children for them to successfully cope with the separation. The child must know that there are still people who care about them and who will be there for them at all times.


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