Separation and its influence on children: what to do?

Many boys and girls experience separation from their parents as emotionally very painfulEven traumatic in extreme cases.

However, no one is predestined to suffer much for months on end because of it; how we adapt to the situation greatly influences how they will experience this stage.

    Why it is important to prepare children for the separation process

    The separation mainly affects the couple who cease to exist as such, but that does not mean that their psychological impact is reduced to these two people. When young children are involved, it is also important that this separation process is as “healthy” as possible.Because your parenting background will change dramatically, as will the way you interact with your parents.

    It also has to do with the stage of psychological development they are in. During childhood and adolescence, it is easy for drastic changes to generate a lot of anxiety and stress, and their coping skills are not as effective as that of the average adult. On the other hand, the family environment is the place where most minors feel most secure, and separation is often interpreted as a violation of this space in which one can relax and have one’s space.

    Therefore, while the fear of causing pain to a son or daughter should not determine the decision to separate or not (or produce a feeling of guilt if one chooses the former), it is important to take steps to make your transition to the new situation as smooth as possible.

    What to do? 5 tips to keep in mind

    Keep these key ideas in mind as you help your child cope with the separation situation.

    1. Don’t hide what’s going on from him

    Hiding what happened is totally counterproductive; separation is an important aspect that also affects it, and you must be able to understand it (According to their possibilities dictated by their age). Describe what happened without making an allegation in your favor.

      2. Listen to him and encourage him to express his feelings.

      It’s not just a matter of telling him what happened; their feelings about it are also precious and should be acknowledged, as the separation affects them as well. Invite them to express themselves, to say what they think and what they feel, And listen without wanting to correct in the moment.

      3. Make sure you haven’t misunderstood it

      He may have a lot of doubts or misinterpret several things about what is happening; after all, a separation involves many changes in your life, And the uncertainty of not knowing how what happens will be projected into the future can lead you to make catastrophic predictions.

      4. Respect your space

      Faced with emotional distress, it’s normal for your child to want to be alone longer than usual.. Don’t see this as anything abnormal, and don’t insist on trying to continue living a normal life for those first few days. If you see that the situation starts to become chronic for a week or two, talk about it to see how you are feeling and, if necessary, seek the help of a professional psychotherapist.

      5. Do not fuel the search for culprits

      Particularly in adolescence, minors tend to project their frustrations onto specific people, either themselves or someone around them. And in the context of a separation, it’s even easier for that to happen, as you spend less time with one or both parents, and it’s also common for there to be tension or hostility between adults. .

      However, when you talk about what happened to your son or daughter, you must not give in to this inertia of blaming the other person for what happened. Not because if you think that your point of view is not valid, but because if you do not describe the situation as objectively as possible, you will place the child in a situation where he might feel pressure. to position itself in a conflict, by adopting a “partisan” mentality which nourishes hostility and is perpetuated. Even if he is not of legal age, he has the right to interpret the facts on the basis of the most impartial information possible, as this separation will also be a fundamental part of his life trajectory.

      6. To get around safely, consult a psychologist

      In psychological assistance sessions, it is possible to count on personalized advice from experienced professionals dealing with behavioral and emotional management issues; this is useful both for oneself and to support the little ones who feel lost in the process of separation. In this way, you will be able to go beyond general advice and have guidelines tailored to your particular case.

      Would you like to benefit from psychological assistance in the separation process?

      If you wish to benefit from professional psychological support in the event of separation or divorce, I invite you to contact me.

      I am a specialist psychologist in the cognitive-behavioral intervention model and I can help you through crisis situations both in terms of emotional management and in terms of personal relationships and parenting strategies. You can count on my services in Madrid, and I also assist through online video calling sessions.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.
      • Blasi, CH; Bjorklund, David F. (2003). Evolutionary developmental psychology: a new tool to better understand human ontogeny. Human Development. 46 (5): 259-281.
      • Mauldon, J. (1990) The effect of marital disruption on health. Demography; 27 (3): 431 – 446.
      • Peterson, JL and Zill, Z. (1986). Marital changes, parent-child relationships, and behavioral problems in children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 48, 295-307.
      • Sylvers, P .; Lilienfeld, SO; LaPrairie, JL (2011). Differences between fear and anxiety about traits: implications for psychopathology. Journal of clinical psychology. 31 (1): pages 122 to 137.

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