Dealing With Separation or Divorce- From A Child’s Perspective
Life events such as separation or divorce can have a big impact on your child’s emotions and behaviour. Your child may be anxious and clingy or perhaps withdrawn and sad. They may be anxious about going to school or struggling to keep up with their classmates.
Its also possible that your child may be acting out their anxiety or confusion in other ways. They may become irritable and angry, and disruptive in the home and at school.
Adjusting to the Change
How can we help our children to adjust to the changes that they are experiencing, when should we become concerned, and how long should we wait to seek help from a child counsellor or child psychologist.
It’s reasonable to allow time for our children to adjust to their new situation and family life. On the other hand the earlier we address our children’s concerns and their behaviour, the more likely they will be to settle and to adapt.
If your child is exhibiting serious behavior changes such as harming themselves by refusing to eat or self harming by hitting or cutting themselves then it’s important to act immediately. Cottesloe Counselling Centre has child counsellors and psychologists who can assist your child without delay.
Signs and Symptoms of Distress
- Meltdowns or tantrums
- Aggression with siblings or school mates
- Bodily tension and compulsive behaviours – finger tapping, or leg jiggling
- Fearful and anxious
- Excessive worrying
- Often silent or preoccupied
- Frequent crying and sensitivity
- Clingy and reluctant to go to school
- Refusal to eat or eating for comfort
- Nightmares and trouble sleeping
- Headaches and stomach aches
- Self harming by hitting or cutting
- Frequently seeking comfort and approval
How Can I Help My Child?
- Listen to your child and make time just for them
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings
- Show them your feelings
- Acknowledge that things have changed
- Reassure them that you love them and that will never change
- Establish and maintain daily routines
- Encourage your child to try new things and provide them with new opportunities
Your Child’s Strengths
Your child will have many strength’s and now is a good time to talk about them with your child. Here is a list of strengths to consider as you think of your child.
- Capacity to love
- Love of Learning
- Social intelligence
- Good judgement
We all want our children to be happy, to be able to form close, secure and satisfying relationships. If you would like support for your child and the family, our Child Counsellors and Child Psychologists can assist you with your concerns.