A divorce or even a separation can be a very trying time. There is typically some amount of turmoil regardless of how calm you try to stay. This turmoil can often be detrimental to your child’s emotional health. Put that together with all of the new changes and you might find that your child shows some signs of distress. To ensure that your child can handle their emotions in the right way, it might be necessary to get some type of counseling services for them.
7 Signs That You Should Find a Good Counselor for Your Child
Many people do not realize that therapy can be beneficial for children of all ages. In fact, research shows that children as young as four can benefit from seeing a counselor. Counselors can help children learn how to deal with their feelings, while teaching them how to express themselves in a positive way.
Thinking or Talking About Death
Some talk about death and dying is normal during development. Children also think about death or talk about death after they have experienced a death in the family. This is all completely normal. However, if your child starts to show an obsession with death or dying then there are certainly some things that you should do. Make sure that your child is not going to cause harm to themselves and get to the point where you can talk to them about why this is not acceptable behavior.
Your Child is Struggling
One of the first signs that your child might need to see a counselor is if they suddenly start struggling in all aspects of their life. This could mean that they are getting into trouble at home, not doing well at school, and/or having problems with activities that they used to enjoy. Making sure that your child is successful during a divorce requires you to put the focus on them.
Sadness or Worry
Many children experience an increase in worry or sadness after a big event. A little of this type of behavior is normal. Kids are going to cry from time to time. That is normal emotional development. However, when you start to notice that your child is worrying over everything or increasingly sad for long periods of time then you will need to consider possibly getting them some help.
They Isolate from Friends
Another thing that you should watch for is when your child starts to have problems socially. When this happens, they could be withdrawing from their favorite activities or just saying that they no longer like their friends. So many things can happen which could cause your child to feel like they do not want to be with those that they used to love. If your child states that they have no friends, that everyone hates them, or that they are a loser; it is time to get them some help.
Changes in Sleep or Eating
Emotional issues can trigger a number of responses in people. Even children can suffer from a lack of sleep or sleeping too much after a big change. They can also struggle with eating too much or not eating enough. Children may also experience night terrors or nightmares, and even have headaches. These symptoms should be addressed immediately, especially those concerning food consumption. Healthy eating habits are important for a life-long health and wellness so staying on top them during childhood is necessary to avoid any type of eating disorder.
Regression of Milestones
Children who are feeling stressed or depressed often have a regression with milestones that they might have already met. There are times when you can expect that your child is going to struggle. Going through a divorce is one of those times, just like having a new baby come into the household. However, what is not normal behavior is a severe amount of regressions. Bedwetting, being fearful more often, throwing tantrums, excessing whining, or being overly clingy for a period of time of a month or more after a big change is not normal behavior. These are all signs that your child might need some help that they can get through a counselor.
Self-destruction is a serious problem that can really affect children. Sometimes behaviors are not meant for harm, but are being done out of frustration. However, you have to get to the bottom of it to ensure that your child does not injure themselves or have problems in the future. If you notice your child having injuries, it is important to determine if they are injuring themselves on purpose. Often times cutting behaviors start with something as simple as digging your nails into your skin. So be sure to watch for signs that your child might be doing something harmful.
Some challenges will always be present when you have children and are going through a divorce. However, there are certain types of changes that you need to be aware of. This is certainly something that you need to stay on top of so that you can get your children the counseling that they need when needed.