Separation, divorce and reconstituted families
Parental separation is part of a process that begins before divorce itself and continues long afterwards. Detrimental effects on children may occur at any stage if the parents are not able to make their children's needs a priority. Reconstituted families pose a whole set of new challenges for the children and adults involved. Children may have to get used to a strange adult, stepsiblings and possibly a house move. The parent who is looking after a child may well present him as the problem, when in fact he may simply be responding normally to an upsetting situation. Parents may be so preoccupied with their own feelings that they have difficulty imagining their children's points of view. Referral of the child as an identified problem to a child and family service may therefore be counter-productive. Encourage the parents to find some way of working together, such as going to mediation or Relate.