jcawhern asks:

What is the impact of separation on a 10 year old girl whose parents are mutually separating?

From a very loving home.

Question asked after reading: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_...
Member Added on Oct 5, 2010
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In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Single parent families, Divorce Issues
> 60 days ago



Oct 15, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Research suggests that separation is, initially, very difficult for children your daughter's age. They experience a great deal of anger and struggle with a shaken sense of identity. Your daughter has known life within the context of an intact family for some time, and will have many, many memories of the family together. It will be hard for her to imagine anything different, and she will likely vacillate between anger and sadness.

She will also wonder if she has done anything to "cause" the separation, and she may feel guilt for any misbehavior on her part. It is not uncommon for children to blame themselves and assume that they played an important role in their parent's separation. Therefore, it is very important to explain to her over and over again that she is not to blame for the separation.

Think about your feelings and values in the context of marriage and relationships and help her to understand the intricacies of adult romantic relationships. Remember, you are also setting up a model for her about how romantic relationships are conducted. What kind of message do you want to convey? That relationships should be worked on at all cost? That people need to take care of themselves?

Studies show that the well-being of children one-year after a divorce or separation depends on the quality of homelife afterward. Establishing a healthy co-parenting relationship and some element of stability for your daughter are paramount, and you should seek help from experts if you think that you might need that assistance.

Given that you are asking these important questions, you are clearly doing a wonderful job of keeping your daughter's needs at the forefront, and I have a great deal of confidence that you and her father will negotiate a positive working relationship moving forward that will benefit your daughter.

Warm regards,
Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
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