Family Law Blog

Signs a Child Needs Professional Therapy Following Parental Divorce

Saturday, July 13, 2019

child thinking

Children are always affected by divorce. Fortunately, the majority of kids whose parents' divorce work through the difficult emotions and grow into functional adults. Some children, however, suffer greatly when their parents dissolve their union. They could become overly stressed, angry, depressed, extremely shy and clingy and/or likely to self-harm. These young ones need professional help from counselors experienced in working with minors of divorced parents. There are many signs to alert parents that their children need therapy. Quicker action tends to result in the best outcomes. Here are common cues that a child needs help:

  • Expressions of sadness and/or depression that can include extensive crying, moping, demonstrating a flat affect, sleeping too much or not enough, changing in eating habits
  • Personality alterations such as a generally calm child becoming anxious, an obedient child suddenly acting out, or a reversion to "babyhood", acting much younger than actual age
  • Asking questions that reveal feelings of guilt, anger or fear
  • Engaging in compulsive behavior such as performing rituals like changing clothes more than once a day, counting things such as the number of peas on their plates or chronic reordering of possessions
  • Rapidly changing moods; happy to sad, anger to laughter or vocal to silent in a short space of time
  • Neglecting relationships with friends and siblings, might turn down invitations to activities normally enjoyed
  • Slipping grades, behavioral issues in school and/or missing classes or not turning in assignments
  • Frequent physical complaints such as stomach ailments and sore throats

A minor might display multiple signs of needing professional therapy. Once an alert occurs, take your child to a qualified therapist who can assess the need for treatment. Share your concerns with your ex, but, remember, if you are the custodial parent, you do not need your former spouse's permission to obtain psychological help for your offspring. To learn more about handling children's concerns after a divorce, including legal issues, please contact us.