The Child’s Experience of the Parental Separation

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

In the throes and aftermath of a separation, emotions run high and parents can inadvertently spill out onto their kids without realizing their impact upon them. In the anguish and/or anger and/or even elation of the parent, the child can be an unintended victim intense feelings. Out of a parent’s intense feelings, the parent can say or do things that unwittingly create emotional harm for the children. The parent may minimize their thinking about the degree of impact upon the child or may convince themselves that the child is aligned with their feelings. However, there is a huge divide between the parent’s behavior and beliefs about their impact on the child and the child’s actual experience.

Here are some examples:

Parental belief and behavior:

My partner was barley around an didn’t have much to do with the kids, so either my partner doesn’t deserve to see them or limiting my…

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