Dad and mom are separated! And now ... what will become of me?
In this article we want to offer a more realistic vision of what can be generated by conjugal separation in the eyes of children and offer four guidelines with which you can deal with this new situation and help them understand it and have the most positive experience of separation.
The separation is a reality with which we live, is part of our society and in our hands is the possibility of generating satisfactory solutions to the problems that may arise in the face of children. It is vital to bear in mind the damage that can be caused if these guidelines are not followed.
Separation from parents: a traumatic experience for children
When we think about what we want for our children, most parents respond "that they are well and happy". Faced with this imperative desire to seek and generate the happiness and well-being of children, we must keep in mind that it depends on "parents" that children are well and happy after separation.
It is obvious that we do not know what is going to happen, but it is clear that adaptation to the new family situation will be better, less traumatic and easier for the sons and daughters of parents who, after separation, are able to share decisions about children and cooperate for their welfare.
What aspects are more difficult for a child regarding separation?
The aspects that generate more tension in a child when there is a separation are the following:
- That one of the parents blames the child for the separation.
- That at home there was any type of abuse, with or without the presence of the children.
- Let family members say bad things about their parents.
- That aspects against the other parent be verbalized.
- That the children have to give in and leave things that they like.
- That some parent shows sadness or discomfort by separation.
- Questions about the other parent's private life are generated by the mother or father.
- Comments from other people in the environment in a negative sense towards parents.
All these aspects they generate great pressure on the children and this tension can cause adaptation difficulties and short-term symptoms such as depression, anxiety, evolutionary regressions, anger, aggression, school difficulties ... Nor is it strange that the child may suffer a drop in self-esteem and self-confidence.
The reactions that children have after separation are different and diverse, and this tells us that it depends on how the process of separation is carried out by the parents and the relationship established between them, will determine and condition the adaptation of the children.
Four general guidelines on the separation process to take care of our children
First of all, it should be clarified that the general indicators in each case are variable and should be adjusted based on the child's age and marital status . The guidelines that we propose are good for children and therefore it should be convenient to make an effort to carry them out, and in this way help to improve the adaptation and the process of the children in the separation.
1. Communicate to the children the decision of separation
It is necessary to reach an agreement between parents about how will you communicate and with what words will you be told, just as both must be present and agree on the decision that has been taken , so that when transmitting this information to the children it is correct and coherent with what is going to be done. It must be made clear that each of the spouses will live in a different house, which is not their fault, that sometimes the elderly get angry and can not be together and it is better to live separately. It is necessary to assure them that they will not lose you, that you are their father and mother and that you will continue to love them, you will be with them and you will continue to take care of them as always.
It should be made clear that they can continue with the same activities they usually do, that the two houses will be their home, that their toys can be in one house or another without inconveniences ...
2. Make it clear that children are not to blame
It should be made clear that separation is a decision that adults have made and that it has nothing to do with them and that they are not to blame, nor are they responsible for the decision to have their parents separated. It must be emphasized that they will continue to be their father and mother even though they do not live in the same house, and that this decision is for them to be happier and to explain that the changes in their lives will be positive ( "We will stop fighting and discuss ourselves", "we will be less sad", "calmer" ...).
You have to ask them what they think about it, ask them if they have any doubts or concerns about this change and leave the door open to their emotional expression. Definitely, we should let them ask us when they have any doubt or fear . This is essential to be able to generate good communication and help children to adapt naturally and less traumatically.
3. Communicate how visits will be made
In this case situations can be very different and different depending on the age of the child and the process followed in the separation, but The better communication and agreement between parents exists, the better experience they can transmit to their children .
It is important in this section to be clear about the aspects that generate tension in the children, in order to be clear about what I want for my son and how I contribute as a father or mother to the adaptation and reduction of the tension generated by the separation.
4. Minimize the impact that we as adults can generate on children
In this section we refer to have control and acceptance that the situation of adults has changed , but that our children still have a father and a mother and that we should avoid certain negative comments, work our anger or frustration with a person who can guide and help us manage it and not project it into them, not generate the known "conflicts of loyalty" , because after all they love you both and do not want to hurt you.Know more: "Parental Alienation Syndrome (SAP): a form of mistreatment towards children"
Some conclusions and nuances
These are some of the aspects that we want to leave you so that you can take into account in the case that you are immersed in this process of separation and even if you have already done it, it is important that you keep in mind these guidelines or points.
Finally, it should be noted that the obligation of parents to achieve the welfare of their children is of vital importance . If the child shows signs of symptoms that may be harming some facet of his life, we should place ourselves in the hands of a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology to be able to make an adequate evaluation and treatment. In addition, educational psychologists will meet with parents to offer and facilitate guidelines and strategies that can be implemented and thus minimize the impact on children.