Divorce: Do My Kids Need Therapy?


In the United States, the current divorce rate is around 50%, meaning that millions of families are impacted by divorce every year. The process of going through a divorce is one of the toughest hardships a family can face. While parents are likely going through confusing emotions and making difficult decisions, for children, the turmoil can be even more intense.

In nearly any circumstance, divorce is stressful for children. However, mere stress alone does not necessarily indicate that a child needs to attend youth counseling or other mental health services for children.

Refer to the following list of signs and symptoms that your child is not coping well with your divorce. If you notice any of these behaviors, consider seeking help through child and family therapy:

  • Your child exhibits symptoms like tearfulness, anger, or withdrawal that persist over several weeks
  • Your child’s symptoms begin to interrupt normal activities or daily functioning, such as hygiene, school performance, or playtime
  • Your child’s symptoms disrupt the well being and functioning of other family members in the house
  • Trusted teachers, friends, or relatives have expressed concerns about your child’s symptoms
  • You feel disappointed, exhausted, or frustrated with your child most of the time
  • Your child asks you for help from a therapist or other services

While these symptoms are more general, other, more acute symptoms might also indicate that it’s time for therapy. These signs might include:

  • New separation anxiety in younger kids
  • Noticeable, worrisome changes in eating habits without medical cause
  • Increased, persistent physical complaints of stomachache or headaches
  • Lack of interest in socializing with friends and peers
  • Development of new fears and phobias
  • Deterioration of school performance
  • Fatigue or apathy with no medical basis
  • Newly onset fidgeting or agitation

Please remember that the decision to schedule to therapy is not set in stone. It’s normal for children to go through emotional turmoil and exhibit different behaviors during a divorce. Though these symptoms provide clues that therapy would probably be beneficial, use your best judgement before deciding to seek youth counseling services.

If you suggest that there’s something “wrong” with the way your child is reacting to divorce, you could inadvertently make their symptoms worse. When in doubt, seek advice from a counseling service in private before talking with your child about therapy. For more information, contact Keri Powell Therapy today.