Rachel Rucker, M.A., NCC is providing us with a follow-up guest post today regarding the topic of children in the middle during their parents’ divorce. Rachel has a variety of experience counseling individuals, couples and families. Through mutual trust and understanding, she works with her clients as a team to explore and define present problems, explore methods of coping and work toward goals that result in an approved life. A very big thank you to Rachel for helping out with this blog post by providing your experience and a glance at a child’s perspective during divorce.
“Other than birth itself, divorce may be the most significant event in the life of a child who experiences it.”
What Makes a Difference???
The age of the child at the time of the divorce, gender, parental functioning and temperament are just a few of the factors that influence how a child will adjust. While parents cannot control the age, temperament or gender of the child they can control how they support and comfort their child or children during this difficult and confusing change. Parents who neglect the emotional needs of their children during this difficult time or parents who overcompensate due to their own feelings of guilt run the risk of raising children with long term adjustment problems and anxiety disorders.
There are measures that parents can take in order to make the transition easier for everyone involved. Keeping a consistent daily routine, reducing parental hostilities, minimizing positive and negative change, and avoiding relying on your child as a source of emotional support are all ways in which parents can help their children to adjust in a positive way to the changes happening around them. Permitting your child to love both parents, and preparing children for impending changes are also important tools that parents should use in order to prevent adjustment and anxiety problems in the future. Allowing the child to love both parents insures that he or she will have reduced stress, increased happiness, and increased self-esteem. Overall, parents should talk and process the divorce and changes that will occur with their children in an age appropriate manner, but avoid the legal details.
Rachel T. Rucker, M.A., NCC
If you or anyone you know has questions about or is interested in counseling services, Rachel’s contact information is below:
Rachel T. Rucker, M.A., NCC,
Rachel T. Rucker Counseling Services LLC
Metairie, Louisiana 70005
* Source: Boyan, Susan Blyth, & Termini, Ann Marie. (1997). Cooperative Parenting and Divorce. Atlanta, Georgia: Active Parenting Publishers.