As a parent having to live apart from your child can be devastatingly painful, whatever the reason for the separation. This can be through shared residency being granted. Residency can be lost due to personal crisis, illness or that the other parent is regarded as the primary carer. In more extreme cases as seen on the BBC programme Panorama, I want my baby back, (first broadcast on 13th January 2014) where they investigate the secretive world of family courts, it can be through suspected abuse or mistreatment.
There also seems to be a rise in partner abduction where the child is taken by the other parent without permission.
What are the main challenges of living apart from your child?
Whatever circumstances arose for the child to be living apart, they will be complex and charged with emotion.
• The loss of everyday parenthood.
• Stress of possibly battling with an ex-partner and trying to help the child cope with being torn between two worlds.
• Shame from losing the residency.
• Social stigma.
Understand that you are not the only one who is going through this process.
Three golden rules to help you cope.
Empowerment–You must be in charge of your healing in every way to counteract the effects of the trauma where all control was taken away from you. Know you legal rights and make sure you are getting the best advice.
Validation–You need others to listen to you, to validate the importance of what happened to you, to bear witness, and to understand the role of this trauma in your life.
Connection–Trauma makes you feel very alone. As part of your healing, you need to reconnect with others.
Be that through a support group, personal therapy, friends and family or the wonderful readers at TheCircle who will empathise and listen, showing you a way forward.
Suggestions to help.
• Don't compete for your child's love.
• Let go of feeling like you have to do it all, your best IS good enough.
• Don't make your new partner your therapist, it will skew the relationship.
• Be your child's parent not friend.
Never give up hope, especially if you don't have contact with your child. Children are naturally curious and will want to find out about you. If it is appropriate keep contact by phone, text, e-mails and letters. Wait patiently and lovingly taking care of yourself so you can be there for your child when the time comes. Get support, the readers at TheCircle will always be there for you.
PUBLISHED: 02 February 2014