Divorce can be hard on the entire family, but it is especially hard on the children. All too often, the kids absorb some of the blame, even if you are trying your best to shield them. Both young kids and teens will often act out, adding more conflict to an already difficult time. Family counseling can help your children get through this difficult time. It can also be helpful for both you and your soon to be ex-spouse. The following tips can help you get the most out of these counseling sessions.

Tip #1: Insist Upon Attendance

While you may not be able to force your ex to go, you can insist that the children and yourself attend every counseling session. You should at the very least ask your ex to attend, for the sake of the children. Everyone making an effort to attend shows they are committed to working out difficulties and to the well being of the newly defined family unit. In other words, a commitment to counseling also shows the kids that their parents may be divorced but are still taking the well being of the children seriously.

Tip #2: Allow Privacy

Although family counselors and counseling session methods vary, most consist of both one-on-one therapy time and group time. The one-on-one time is a time for your children to talk candidly about their feelings, fears, and problems with their counselor. Unless your child is in immediate danger, the counselor will respect the child's privacy. Do not try and force or wheedle information from the counselor, as this can affect your child's trust in both you and the counselor. The counselor is going to afford you the same privacy during your one-on-one sessions. It is the counselor's job to use this private information to help guide the group sessions towards resolution of conflicts or problems.

Tip #3: Do Your Homework

Chances are you will be sent home with "homework" – knowledge or strategies you are supposed to put into action. This may be as simple as keeping a diary about a certain goal you are supposed to be working toward, or it may involve scheduling more one-on-one time with the kids. It may even be an actionable conflict resolution tactic you are supposed to try with your ex so you aren't fighting around the children anymore. Whatever homework you are assigned, take it seriously. The children are also going to be assigned homework, which they are more likely to take seriously if mom and dad are taking it seriously. These assignments are also one of the keys to making therapy work outside of the counselor's office, so it is vital to follow through if you want results.

For more information or to sign up for counseling, contact local counseling centers, such as Blue Spruce Counseling.

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