Families who are going through divorce, as well as families who are blending together, often encounter many unexpected adjustments, questions, doubts and emotions as the process unfolds. While all families have their unique ways of operating and responding to change, separation and divorces brings challenges to a family that are best addressed in a proactive rather than reactionary manner. With a disruption in the familial landscape, there are issues that are addressed out of necessity, such as money, division of assets, child visitation, etc. However, there are many other equally important issues that may not be given immediate consideration and attention. These include the communication of the divorce or blending of a family to the children, differences in rules and parenting styles, challenging of authority and acceptance of new individuals into the family, handling drop-off/pick-up interactions, joint activities/meeting, etc. If these components are not addressed in a timely, open and thoughtful manner, rippling emotional and relational difficulties often emerge.
Separation and/or divorce issues and blended families can cause a myriad of problems for all involved. Counseling offers a safe atmosphere where family members can express their feelings, learn how to communicate their emotions in a constructive manner and have a voice in the development of a healthy family plan. Such counseling initially involves the parents and eventually moves to the inclusion of children and/or other family members.
Problems That Occur with Separation, Divorce Issues and Blended Families
Many times, separation and divorce are overshadowed by years of pain, anger, frustration and lack of healthy communication in the parental relationship. Each spouse may feel let down and blame the other. Yes, amidst this reality, parents are now faced with the task of emerging from the divorce as collaborative co-parents who operate with the child’s best interest at the forefront. While appropriate in theory and expectation, it is often a daunting task to accomplish without substantial support and guidance. But, if not undertaken, the division in the co-parenting often falls on the shoulders of the child causing more emotional stress to an already burdened child. It is under these circumstances that young children will often become defiant, aggressive or overly emotional, while older children may withdraw, seek out risky behaviors as a means of escape or become angry and depressed.
Benefits of Counseling for Separation and Divorce Issues and Blended Families
The benefits of counseling for separation or divorce issues and blended families are great. A professional counselor can help adults vent their feelings and learn positive ways to express their needs, thoughts and emotions as they develop a new parenting/co-parenting plan. A competent therapist will help diffuse the state of anger, so that each spouse can see the circumstances as they truly exist and create a new paradigm for the familial unit. Since divorce is especially difficult for children, it is important that they have an environment where they can honestly talk about their feelings without pressure, fear of retribution, concerts they are betraying a parent or hurting the feelings of a family member. A therapist experienced in working with children and families experiencing divorce or blending together can help a child navigate the tough waters with compassion and learn healthy coping strategies for the struggles that lie ahead.