In the past, marriage and starting a family were some goals that people strived towards because of societal expectations. Today, there has been a large shift away from marriage to common-law relationships and divorce rates have increased. With divorce, parents now need to learn a skill that they didn’t think they would have to: co-parenting. Co-parenting involves both parents playing an active role in the children’s life to further healthy development.
High-risk divorces, unfortunately, inflict the most damage to parents, children and the court systems. High-risk divorces are categorized by parents that have intense disagreements, lack cooperationand are in constant litigation processes. Other characteristics include hostility, distrustand dysfunctional co-parenting. Sometimes, the children’s wellbeing and needs are forgotten because of the painful experience of a divorce. Research has shown that high-conflict divorces lead to an increase in social and emotional maladjustment as well as academic problems in the affected children.
So, if you’re in this situation, what options do you have?
Today, there are dozens of different types of help that can be used by parents, who are going through a separation/divorce. Therapy and consulting with a therapist are helpful ways of dealing with the emotional burden of divorce. Therapy can be helpful in teaching parents how to break the news to their children, how to answer their children’s questions or manage their reactions, and identify manipulative behaviors in children. Teenagers reaction to divorce are different than younger children, yet not everyone’s initial reaction would be the same (e.g., sadness and tears). Therapists can help parents identify which behaviors are considered “normal reactions” and which ones could possibly be problematic.
Research has shown that when parents receive professional help, there is a reduction in their arguments and an improvement in their communication. When parents receive professional help, their children are less likely to be caught in the middle of their arguments and experience less stress. When children receive therapy (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Art and Play Therapy), they are given a place to have their voices (e.g., fears, stressors, sorrows) heard while experiencing and gaining a sense of control of their lives.
No marriage or divorce is the same, but they greatly affect the development of the children in either a positive or negative way. Learning to co-parent is a difficult task, but with the right help, agreements can be reached where all the parties’ voices are heard and respected. Our therapists and counsellors in Montreal, West Island, and Brossard are ready to help you achieve balance in your family once again.
To obtain more information about our therapy services for children and divorced parents, visit our website at www.montrealarttherapy.com
Written by: Mihaela Zlatanovska
Edited by: Reyhane Namdari