As Kelly Clarkson is going through a public divorce, co-parenting her kids, hosting her talk show, and returning to The Voice, she has her hands quite full. But she also seems to be doing one of the most important things she can for herself and her children during a trying time like this: She’s getting help.
Having been through her parents’ divorce when she was 6, Clarkson knows that her split from Brandon Blackstock after seven years of marriage is going to have a lifelong impact on her children, 6-year-old River Rose and 4-year-old Remington Alexander. It’s also the second time her stepchildren, 18-year-old Savannah and 15-year-old Seth, have gone through a divorce.
“We have a lot of help as far as therapists or child psychologists ‘cause we want to do it right,” Clarkson told Extra on Monday. “I definitely want to do it right. Everyone’s sad, and it’s OK to be sad.”
That statement right there, that it’s OK to be sad, looks like proof she and her children are in therapy, as acknowledging that emotions are valid is often one of the first things experts will recommend to parents.
“It’s just one day when you’re like, ‘Wow, this has forever changed and it’s not just my heart has changed, there’s other little hearts involved,’” of realizing that there are more than two people going through this difficult divorce. But she also said that she’s not alone in having to deal with it.
“I have really great family and friends that are there for me,” she said.
Clarkson told both Extra and Entertainment Tonight that she’s also having to balance the desire to share what she’s going through with fans, to help others who might be doing the same, with her need to protect her kids from public scrutiny.
“[H]aving kids that run the gambit of four to 19 is a really tough thing,” Clarkson told ET. “And, you know, I’ve had conversations with one of our eldest about how difficult it is in the public eye when your parents are so … you know, one of them is so prominent and having to navigate that for them is hard on their hearts. I’m just careful also while being real.”
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, about 25 percent of children with divorced parents “experience ongoing emotional and behavior difficulties,” compared to 10 percent of children with parents who are together. Just in case you think that’s an argument for staying in a bad marriage, let’s just wonder what the stats are for children of parents who are together bur really shouldn’t be. Rather these are numbers meant to illustrate the importance of seeking outside help when necessary. AAMFT recommends looking out for these signs of stress in kids: regression, separation anxiety, moodiness, acting out, manipulative behavior, sadness, depression, guilt, sleeping problems, eating problems, a change in personality, academic problems, peer problems, irrational fears, and/or compulsive behavior.
If you believe you and your children need help, AAMFT suggests seeking help from a school counselor, programs provided through your local family court, or a family therapist.