Sabra Law Group Interview with Psychologist Dr. Francyne Zeltser

In this latest “Ask the Experts” blog series with Sabra Law Group, the law firm interviews New York based experts in child and marriage therapy. This particular interview is with Dr. Francyne Zeltser. Clinical Director of Psychology at Manhattan Psychology Group, PC in New York City. She is a New York State Licensed Psychologist. She manages a team of Licensed Psychologists, Neuropsychologists and Psychotherapists who provide counseling to children, adolescents and adults. 

What are some tips for parents to help children acting out in a divorce? What are some reasons why children act out in a divorce? 

“Acting out is children's way of communicating their thoughts and feelings when they don't have the emotional vocabulary or insight to do so verbally. Some children are upset by the divorce, while others are confused, anxious or agitated. Heightened emotions often lead to dysregulation in children. If your children act out in response to divorce, try to be understanding and provide validation and support for how they are feeling. Children are less likely to demonstrate negative behavior when they feel supported and understood.”

When should a parent consider childhood therapy for your little one? 

“Therapy should be considered if the child is having a prolonged adverse reaction to the news of the divorce. It is normal for children to be upset or even to act out initially after learning of their parents' divorce. If the child continues to be distressed once the news settles and this distress starts to interfere with their daily functioning, it is helpful to seek professional support such as therapy for the children.”

Should parents break the news of their divorce together or separately to their children?

“Children, regardless of their ages, are more aware of their surroundings than adults tend to realize. Often children know or at least have an idea of what is happening with their parents before they are officially informed. The decision to break the news together or separately is dependent on the parents' ability to communicate calmly and effectively to their children in each other's presence. If breaking the news together is going to be stressful or hostile, parents are better off speaking to and supporting their children independently. Regardless of how the news is shared, it is important to revisit the topic so that children have the opportunity to ask questions and reflect on this big change.”

If you have a family law issue, contact the Sabra Law Group in Manhattan at (646) 472-7971. The firm’s expertise is in all forms of family law, such as alimony, divorce, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, child custody battles, child support, domestic violence, and restraining orders. 


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