Many courts either order or suggest therapy for parents and children involved in family law litigation. Particularly with regard to child therapy, I am a big advocate of art therapy in helping children cope with divorce. Children are both extremely expressive and extremely creative. They learn by interacting with their environments and processing their experiences from those interactions through outlets such as art.
Drawings may also provide a means by which a child’s parents can connect in a healthy and encouraging way. If you’re unsure about how to reach out to your child during a divorce or child custody battle, consider drawing or painting with your child during your allocated parenting time. Pay attention to the colors and figures of your child’s artwork in progress. And given art therapy is just as beneficial to adults as it is to kids, you might want to take a break from your own litigation-plagued mind and create alongside your child. (If you haven’t already, you should check out the newest trend in adult coloring books. They’ve been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in adults!)
However, don’t overthink or overanalyze your child’s artwork. Like pediatrician Martin Stein notes in his article about children’s drawings in Parents magazine:
A big caveat here: We all want to find hidden meanings in drawings, but be cautious about over-interpreting. It’s not a good idea to read too much into your child’s sketches. Instead, use them as an opportunity to talk with your child about what he or she has drawn. Then ask questions about them to enhance communication between you. Do your best to avoid giving too many of your own impressions. I purposely keep the conversation very open-ended: “Tell me about your drawing. Who are the people in the picture? What are they doing?”
Consider reviewing the list of books at the end of this article and picking out a few to read with your child during your parenting time. Here are a few suggestions to give you an idea of how reading can help your child through your divorce or child
Family law matters are stressful. They also take a significant toll on the well-being of children caught in the middle of them. But creative and fun outlets do exist to help children cope and understand such times. I encourage you to spend part of your parenting time exploring creative ways for your child to cope with your family law case. It might also be worth asking any therapist that you or your child may be seeing about additional projects in the form of art therapy.
And more likely than not, you will find that both you and your child benefitted immensely from being creative during your troubled times! If you’re considering a divorce, contact the divorce attorneys at Modern Family Law for a free consultation.
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