Parental Separation, A Challenge for Children

Parental Separation, A Challenge for Children

Last update: 15 June, 2018

Parental separation can have a huge impact on children. In this article, we’ll give you some tips in order to prevent the breakup from causing big problems.

Parental separation can be a great challenge for children, since no one can substitute the love of their parents. It’s important for parents to keep on being involved in their children’s education and development even though they’re separated.

When separation occurs, parents must keep in mind that it’s a topic that should be shared with other adults. In that sense, it isn’t right to show resentment or negativity towards your partner in front of your children. This will only hurt them more.

Although at times it may seem like your child may express more affection towards one parent, this shouldn’t be taken personally. Try to respect and understand your child’s needs in such a delicate moment.

The child must understand the situation

There should always be a positive attitude and willingness to negotiate and listen. You should consider the child’s ability to understand the family’s situation and to express their opinions and feelings.

The separation of parents can be experienced by children with great emotional intensity. Therefore, it’s the parent’s responsibility to help the child understand certain points:

  1. The decision to separate is an issue that is exclusively between parents

The child isn’t responsible for the situation nor can they do anything to change it. Parents may feel sad, angry or disappointed by the situation and the child may feel the same way. It’s important therefore to listen to the child’s feelings and opinions.

  1. The child doesn’t lose their mother nor their father

Parents must encourage each other to maintain a positive relationship with the child. This positive attitude will help the child adapt to this new stage in a better way.

Parental Separation, A Challenge for Children
  1. A relationship is based on love, respect and common goals

If these components aren’t found in the relationship, separation could be an enriching step forward for both parties.

“Parents should understand and respect their children’s needs throughout this delicate phase.”

Parental separation, a big challenge for children

Change always involves a certain amount of stress. The decision to separate can have different effects on children depending on their age when it occurs.

In that sense, below is a list of how children can be affected by parental separation during different stages of childhood and adolescence:

For children between 0 and 6

During this stage, it’s common for children to suffer from sleep disorders, a tendency to regress, feelings of responsibility or aggression towards one of the parents.

It’s important to assure the child that they won’t be abandoned by their father nor their mother who may not have custody of them. Both parents will remain active in the child’s life.

They must be assured that they aren’t responsible for the separation. They should know where both of their parents will live and furthermore they should know that they’ll always be able to see them.

For children between the ages of 6 and 8

During this stage of childhood, they may ask more complicated questions and present a state of sadness. Issues can arise in their performance at school or through aggression or conflict with parents.

It’s important to take the time to respond to their questions. You can also ask for specialized help if you believe that the child needs it.

Show the child affection constantly and give them space to express their concerns. Assure them that their parents will always be by their side.

Children between the ages of 8 and 12

During this stage of childhood, unpleasant situations can arise when they’re met with their parent’s decision. The child might hide their feelings or confront the parent who made the decision to get a separation.

In these cases, the child should be encouraged to express their feelings without holding back. They should maintain contact with both parents in order to continue with the activities they shared together before the separation.

Parental Separation, A Challenge for Children

How does separation affect teenagers?

During adolescence, children tend to take refuge in the constant support received from their peers. It’s common for them to get closer to the parent that they consider to be more tolerant.

During this phase, it’s important to openly discuss the rupture and the new family organization. Keep the teenager’s opinion in mind in order to help them fulfill all of their needs.

In conclusion, parental separation can be a challenge for their children. If separation occurs, it’s important for parents to continue taking care of their children. Children need to maintain a close relationship with both of their parents.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.