Separation. Specific goals and stages
Separation and divorce are challenging for any family.
Firstly, it is well-known that this process has many similarities with grief and loss (e.g. same stages and emotional responses). This means that at some point you or your child may feel shocked, be in denial, feel anger, sadness or guilt.
Secondly, it is important to think about how the whole process of separation is managed by both parents. Children will likely be less traumatized or not traumatized at all if the process is completed in a collaborative and respectful manner.
Finally, when the process of separation is done properly and emotions are dealt with completely – it will be possible to feel respect and gratitude towards both parents.
There are a few key areas of focus in a peaceful and collaborative divorce: 1) The child’s well-being and mental health (e.g. minimizing the trauma) 2) Coordination of actions that minimize the effects of the divorce on the child’s life
There are specific goals and stages on the way towards this new stage of life:
Change in patterns and structure of daily routines
Letting go of some expectations and dreams
Emotional regulation and anger management
Differentiation of roles: spouses VS parents
Forming new rules and agreements
Developing new boundaries
Please keep in mind the following needs that children of any age have during the time of separation or divorce:
To maintain their relationship with both parents.
To be guilt-free about the separation of their parents.
To not take the role of a peacekeeper, mediator, emotional supporter, counsellor etc.
To be out of the “triangle” between mom and dad.
To have their own connections with both parents.
To believe that their parents will not disappear and will continue to take care of them.
To know how often and when they will be able to see each other.
To feel good about both parents.
To be able to openly love both, and do not feel that this is a betrayal towards any of them.
To feel loved, nurtured and cared for.