Helping Children Navigate Through Divorce

Among the many issues parents face in a divorce situation is how the children are affected.  Kim R. Lipsman, a Phoenix licensed professional counselor has tips and suggestions for parents in the following article:

Divorce can cause many emotions for parents and children. Everyone involved in the divorcing family may feel loss, anger, sadness, a threat to security, confusion, and conflict. There is a new vulnerability for the whole family, both, physically and mentally created by a divorce event.

Many times the signs of distress in children are over-shadowed in a divorce by the separation, possible move of home and school, economic instability, and new patterned life between two households. And, even though each child interprets the divorce event differently and adjusts well over the course of time, there may be underlying emotions surrounding the divorce. There may be small signs or signals to the emotion your child feels.  He or she may need help managing through the divorce experience, feeling safe, adjustment in their relationships, and/or their own well-being.

Signals to watch for are:

  • Anger outburst without any apparent trigger.
  • Overwhelming sadness for long periods of time.
  • A drop in grades or school participation.
  • A request or behavior to be alone more than with friends and others.
  • More illnesses than usual.
  • Expression of physical pain with no medical confirmation of something wrong.
  • Eating patterns change such as not hungry at all or eating or binging on food even after they have just eaten.
  • A significant weight change.
  • Acting out with negative behavior for attention.
  • Trying to be perfect or people pleasing, so no one will be mad or upset.
  • Separation anxiety and fear when you leave.
  • General anxiety that doesn’t subside.
  • Nightmares.
  • Bedwetting after ability to control bladder has been established.
  • Expression of loneliness and feeling different than other children.
  • Repetitive behaviors that the child reports keep them safe or help prevent something bad from happening, again.

Most families need help navigating through the emotional storm of divorce. Learning how to deal with stress and express emotion effectively is beneficial. Seeking support through church, community groups, and/or psychotherapeutic treatment can be helpful.

What can you share about your child’s signal or signs that he/she is under stress due to the divorce experience that they cannot express verbally?

Kim R. Lipsman, LPC, MEd, SEP

To add your thoughts or questions, please comment on Affordable Mediation’s Facebook or Twitter page, using the links on this page.

Kim R. Lipsman is a licensed professional counselor. Her experience with helping children and their families began when she was a teacher/educator. The family work is a natural transition from classroom settings to working with children and families in a therapeutic practice.

Kim is well trained in many areas of the psychotherapeutic process. She is a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner working in the area of trauma healing. Kim’s extensive work with children, adolescents, and adults with eating issues and eating disorders makes her well known in the industry as an eating disorder specialist. She has two childhood obesity certifications and trains other professionals on how to work with childhood eating issues. Kim is currently a doctoral candidate for clinical psychology.

To contact Kim R. Lipsman go to: or

Or, call (480) 451-8500