Counselling, Therapy and Support for Children, Teenagers and Families with Parents Going Through Divorce and Separation

Separation and divorce can be extremely difficult for families to go through, especially if there are negative feelings and anger involved. It is often hard for a child to understand and they can become confused or unhappy. Separation may cause grief for children if they feel as though they have lost a parent. It is common for a child to feel they are responsible for the separation, they may believe that they did something to cause the break-up such as misbehaving. Older children may have a better understanding of parents’ separation and divorce but it can make them feel insecure or uncertain, especially during teenage years when they are experiencing more independence.

The transition often brings lots of big changes to a child’s life which can have negative impacts on their development. Separation does not mean your child is incapable of leading a happy, healthy life, but finding ways to adjust and adapt are important to help your child overcome any struggles they face as a result of the complications of separation.

It is common for parents to worry that they might be harming their children by separating, and they often want to talk to a child specialist to help navigate the stressful transition.

If you believe your son or daughter may be struggling with the separation, or you would like to discuss ways of making a separation less stressful for your child, assessment and support from a qualified clinical psychologist at Harwood Child Psychology can help. We can support children and families face to face at our clinic in North West London or online.

Effects of divorce

How do I know if our separation is affecting our child?

In some cases, children may struggle to adjust to the changes and experience certain negative effects as a result of the separation.

Short-term effects

  • Most children will demonstrate some issues with adjustment during the first two years:
    • Boys tend to show more behavioural problems such as misbehaving.
    • Girls often struggle more with emotional issues such as becoming more withdrawn.
  • They may develop difficulties in relationships with family and peers and may have issues in school.
  • They may show greater levels of anger, towards others and themselves.

Longer-term effects

  • It is important to note that separation leads to long-term negative impacts in a relatively small proportion of separated families.
  • In cases where there are lasting impacts, the areas commonly affected are school performance, self-esteem, relationships, emotional problems and bad behaviour.
  • You may find it useful to read our other pages on various psychological/ mental health problems that may have become worse following a separation.

How can I help my child adjust to separation?

If you believe that your child has struggled to adjust and adapt to your separation, or you would like to plan to make the transition as smooth as possible, Harwood Child Psychology can help. Therapy with a focus on family-based interventions can help the whole family adjust to the changes, establishing new roles and routines to suit the parents whilst meeting the child’s needs. Listening to your child’s concerns and worries about the separation is vital for supporting them through the transition. Creating an individualised support plan based around the child’s specific needs can help to tackle any issues present. All of our therapy is conducted by a highly qualified clinical psychologists using evidence-based techniques. We pride ourselves on a high quality, warm and compassionate service that can help your son, daughter and your whole family.

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If you are concerned your child may be suffering with a mental health issue as a result of the separation, we offer a full specialist assessment following the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines to identify areas where extra support is required. We will give you lots of resources and support to help your family to navigate this stressful time.


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Harwood Child Psychology provides specialist assessment and effective support for adjusting to separation and divorce in Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Highgate, Hampstead, Finchley and the wider North West London area.

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