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How to know if you should talk to a therapist before telling your children about the divorce

It’s difficult to know how children will respond to the news that their parents are
divorcing. And, depending on the age of a child, he or she may not know what
divorce means.

Children often know their parents are going to part before
parents actually tell them, because children make it their business to know what’s
going on. Talking to a therapist can help the parents involved in a divorce decide
how and when they want to tell their children.

• Infants and very young children experience things in a sensory way, so they
may hear their parents’ voices in different tones than before, or they may notice
the absence of one or the other parent.

• Children in elementary school are focused on learning, and they may begin
having troubles concentrating or learning if they are concerned about the
relationship between their parents.

• Adolescents are trying to figure out their own lives and may not want to be
involved in conversations about the dissolution of the parents’ marriage.
Before meeting with a therapist, ask on the phone about credentials and his or
her experience working with issues related to divorce. Being a client means that
you are a consumer of a service, not only with the therapist but with the attorney.

It is important to find the one who will suit your needs through the process.

For more information, please ask your attorney.

Sarah B. Wilhelms, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in Missouri.
She has a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Washington University and a
Master of Social Work with honors also from Washington University in St. Louis.
Sarah has over 15 years’ experience with families involved in custody matters,
grief and loss, foster care and adoption, healthcare, early childhood
development, and trauma. For more information, you may contact her at