What to do About A Parent/Child Breakup
On the losing side of the divorce spectrum there are going to be consequences: pain, frustration, and unexpected sadness from the child. In fact, child analysts say that having a relationship with parents is critical to a child’s development. “Kids need attachment and it’s impossible for a kid to be attached to an adult if they’re angry with the parent.”-Selena Deutsch, M.D., Psychiatrist and the author of the forthcoming book, Kids – The Secret Box: Coping With the Loss of an Intimate Partner and Parental Attachment.
Additionally, there are other expenses to contend with. Children will be, among other things, confused and uninformed about the relationship between their parents, being incited in not only developing their anger, but their cynicism as well.
These children tend to feel that things have been taken away from them, like a parent or family, which only adds to their grief. Additionally, they suffer from a psychological condition known as the “externalized loss,” which is a feeling of loss of status, power, and control that comes from family members abandoning the child’s needs.
So how can the child begin to deal with loss? It can be tricky, but the following steps may just work.
The first and foremost tip is to have a time for compassion. It’s a myth that kids have to be firm while dealing with loss, but a quick and listening ear can go a long way. Also, suggest that the child schedule a family meeting and ask your children to get input and ideas from everyone including their siblings and the partner.
Everyone can then bring their own thoughts and memories to the meeting, which will help the children process the loss and form a united and sensitive voice.
In addition, some children may need to spend time alone, alone with an adult, especially if they feel abandoned during the transition of the breakup.
While this kind of time can help get them out of a state of mourning and give them some time for self-reflection, it can also help protect the child in case something happened to the family. Just be sure that you are not overworking the child and that they feel safe. Also, leave any open topic until the topic of the parent’s happiness is decided upon.
Finally, it’s a good idea to find out where the child is seeking help and that kind of input can help avoid any more misunderstandings between the child and family.
It’s also helpful to give some time to the transition of getting over the ending of the relationship and settling on a new happiness. Giving the child time to transition may help him or her learn about what his or her worth is on his or her own terms.
Author information from MindShift, a Foreword by Melissa Gardiner, Ease, Magic & Secrets: How to Improve Your Focus and Become a Super Parent with the help of Spirit-Led Parenting. Copyright 2006 by Wayne B. Powers. All rights reserved. Used with permission of Author and Publisher. No work has been published by the Author or Publisher.