The U.S. Census Bureau - involved in research about counseling children of divorce - estimated that about 50% of all American children born in 1982 lived in a single-parent home sometime during their first 18 years. Mostly due to divorce. Counseling children of divorce has huge benefits.
The most common advantages of counseling are to be found in the development of the coping skills by the children. Other advantages relate more to the acquisition of emotional stability. Since all children are different, each child will respond in their own way to counseling strategies.
Research examining children's mechanisms for coping with divorce has shown that children's reactions depend on their age and developmental stage at the time the divorce occurs. (Cantrell, 1986; Freeman & Couchman, 1985; Kieffer, 1982; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980).
How do children of divorce react to counseling by age group?
However, most children of divorce at any age appear to benefit from counseling. There are many types of counseling that children can take part in. Each type has its own advantages and purposes.
The first type for counseling children of divorce is group therapy. Therapy groups that are made up of other kids going through divorce are particularly helpful for pre-teens and teens. Those children commonly turn to their peers (children of the same age and in the same situation) for help understanding their world. This makes it one of the better choices for counseling with kids over 12.
Counseling benefits of children of divorce include things like a sence of belonging, a sence that their problems are shared with their peers and the development of positive coping skills. To get the most benefits from group therapy the right form of this therapy needs to be found. For example, while teens may benefit from peer group therapy, younger kids may benefit more from family group therapy.
Several types of group counseling are available which could be beneficial to children of divorce:
A second therapy option for counseling children of divorce is individual counseling. Individual counseling is usually reserved for children with long-term, unproductive coping behaviors and for children who cannot work well in groups. These sessions work well for young kids, teens and even for adult children of divorce.
The benefits of individual counseling are: release of emotions, the development of coping skills and the ability to dealing with stress.
Only little research has been done on the efficacy of individual counseling with children of divorce. However, clinicians report a desirable change in the child's affection as a result of individual counseling.
To get the most out of a counseling children of divorce program several factors have to be met: