Divorce Counseling Can Help Reduce Teen Troubles

troubled teenA study done with more than 200 divorced mothers and their children shows that divorce counseling can help kids avoid trouble when they get into their teen years.

I’ve summarized a report on the study by SAMHSA below and you can read the complete article on this page.

Report Summary

Most children of divorced parents in the United States (40 percent of all children) adjust well to their parents’ split.

Researchers at the University of Arizona tried to find out whether post-divorce counseling for children helped prevent some negative outcomes of divorce-conduct problems, dropping out of school, substance use, high-risk sexual behaviors, and depression-during the teen years.

To find out whether counseling could reduce problems during the teen years in children of divorce, researchers tested more than 200 9- to 12-year-olds who lived with their mothers after a divorce.

The group sessions addressed improving the mother-child relationship, disciplining, increasing the father’s access to the child, and reducing conflict between the parents.

Another program consisted of 11 group sessions and 2 private sessions for the mothers and 11 group sessions for the children.

The third program was a control group in which participants received three books on adjusting to divorce, but no private or group counseling.

After 6 years, researchers checked on 218 of the families that participated to see how the children had fared as teens.

Teens who had received counseling as children were far more likely than those with no counseling to avoid mental health problems that often plague teens whose parents have split up.

In fact, surveys revealed that 23.5 percent of the teens who had no counseling or other help had mental health problems, compared with 11 percent of the teens who had been in the programs.

Researchers also found that counseling in childhood reduced marijuana, alcohol, and other illegal drug use and number of sexual partners during the teen years.

Posted in: Effects of Divorce on Children

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