Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma staff often cares for children who are in crisis due to divorce.

CALM Center Assistant Director Amanda O’Brien-Brown appeared on KTUL Channel 8’s Good Day Tulsa to talk about this issue.

Follow this link to watch her appearance.

Here is some of the information that she shared:

Communicating with children is critical to avoid trauma during a divorce. It’s important to let them know that you still love them, and both parents will still be involved in their lives. Do feelings checks often.  How are you feeling?

Each family member can make a safety plan to help manage emotions through the process. How will the child handle the emotion of being away from a parent for the first time as an example?

1. Communicate openly with children about how the divorce will affect them.

Let them know well in advance if they are moving, changing schools, etc. This helps them feel safe. Keep a family calendar so children know who will pick them up at school or activities and where they will be on the weekends.

2. Parents need to be emotionally intelligent. It’s important to keep the children out of the parents’ issues.

3. Parents need to communicate non-violently. This not only means physical but also emotional communication. The adults need to watch what they say and how they say it around children.

4. Sometimes children’s reactions to divorce aren’t directly related.

A potty trained toddler, for example, may start wetting the bed. A young child may get angry at the dog every day. A teen may start withdrawing or blow up over small things.

This is why it is a good idea for the family to be preventive and seek a counselor to help them through the divorce. Children often will not tell their parents how they feel because they see how upset the parents are.  Children may need someone they can talk to alone to share their concerns.

Counseling & Recovery Services can help with assessment, individual therapy and more intense services such as Wraparound Tulsa and the CALM Center.  If the child is in crisis and the family cannot handle the behavior, the CALM Center is available any time of day or night. We also offer Wraparound Tulsa where the child and family receive help from a team to identify goals and access services to stay out of crisis.

At the CALM Center and throughout our agency, we use the Sanctuary model which means we look at each person’s trauma and how it is significant to them.  Often, children need to talk to someone about how the divorce is affecting them. They may see the divorce as their fault, as an example.

Counseling & Recovery provides services to help children and adults. One of them is Wraparound Tulsa. We have teams that come in and wrap our arms around the family and help them take preventive measure so that they can get the services they need before things get out of hand.

If you notice that your child has gone from fairly stable to a crisis including running away, withdrawal, anger, severe depression or talking about suicide, the CALM Center is available 24/7.​

Follow this link to watch her appearance.