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Stumped? Call the Guidance Counselor

by Lori Sciame | March 21st, 2012 | Elementary

My youngest child had just turned six when her father and I separated. She went from having one set of rules in one home, to two sets of rules in two homes. She also had to begin packing her life into bags and suitcases every few days, and she had to remember to tell friends which house she was at when they made play dates. In essence, her young life became complicated.

Wanting to ease the transition, I made it a point to listen to her concerns, yet she was reluctant to open up to me (or to her father for that matter). As the days turned to weeks, she seemed to be in a downward spiral from which she could not recover. I tried extra hugs, lots of love, and even special one-on-one days, but nothing worked. After several weeks of her refusing to do her homework, and in general, just being cranky, I decided to enlist the help of the school guidance counselor. I am so glad I made that call!

Soon after my plea for help, the counselor placed my daughter in a group with other young children whose parents were divorcing or recently divorced. A sweet and caring woman, she made the group sessions a safe place, where fears could be shared and put at ease. They played games, drew pictures, and even danced…but mostly they talked. In addition to the group, the counselor also met individually with each child for as many weeks (and then months) as they needed.

Almost immediately, my daughter acted more at ease. She regained her smile, and she began the hard work of adjusting to her new life. For her, being in the group helped her to better cope with her situation. Instead of continually wishing for things the way they had been, she began to see her future again full of opportunity (and security). In addition, she no longer felt so alone. As a testament to the strength and power of the group work, she remains fast friends with the other participants — seven years later.

Thank goodness school districts across the nation employ competent guidance counselors. These helpful professionals receive special training to assist children through situations just like the one I described above. They have the tools to help every child handle life’s stressors. It’s a fact that parents need to realize that sometimes they just can’t help their children themselves, and in these situations, professional counselors can literally save the day! It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength.

If you have a young child who is having trouble adjusting to a divorce, or to any major life change, make sure to contact your school guidance office for support. You will be pleasantly surprised at the effective help you receive, and it’s a free service. Best of all, your precious child will once again be on his or her way to a full life, one with hope and happiness.

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