Strategies for children to handle their parents’ separation

  • Strategy of reconciliation. Can be expressed though symptomatic or regressive behavior. This way, children try to keep their parents together.
  • Strategy to reduce the distress of the separation: Intense emotional reactions during visits or meetings with parents because they feel the distress of separation again.
  • Strategy to cause tension. To reduce tension between parents, children often offer themselves as scapegoats in order to become the center of attention.
  • Strategy to confirm love. The child is afraid of losing their parents, so they tend to verify the parent’s love by trying to hold all their attention.
  • Strategy to confirm loyalty. Children feel divided between their parents so they won’t express themselves naturally, they will try to act as they think their parents expect them to.
  • Strategy of seeking balance and absolute justice. Children will try to make the same concessions with both parents to avoid conflicts.
  • Strategy to protect the self-esteem of the children. When children receive the anger of one of the parents against the other they usually move away from the one that is creating the situation.
  • Strategy to protect the self-esteem of the parents. If the children notice vulnerability in one of the parents they can become their emotional support.
  • Strategy to get a permissive life style. Children can manipulate the situation for their own benefit. They don’t express much emotional distress. This reaction shows a weak relationship with one or both of the parents or an escape from parental conflicts.

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