It doesn’t matter what their age is, the separation of parents is always a tough situation for the children. The children get disturbed emotionally and find it extremely difficult to cope with the situation. A lot of aspects of their life get changed due to this shocking incident. A lot of things like where the children will live, seeing one of their parents for a less time and emotional trauma brought up by the upheaval have to be taken care of. The speed at which they will be able to adapt to this situation completely depends on how the situation is dealt with.
There are some children who have been taught to adapt quickly to changes right from the beginning. But as their parents, you have to make sure that this transition of their state of mind is smooth and they are able to adapt and accept the situation of the separation of their parents. You have to start thinking like a parent and not a partner who has recently been through a separation. Then only you will be able to take care of delicate issues like loyalty confusion.
Children who just had one parent who is an extremely emotionally wounded person and who are not able to meet their other parent very often are thought to be at a much higher risk of suffering from loyalty issues. You start talking to them about what has happened and they gradually understand the scenario after they see only their Mother or Father. That is why it is believed that some children have to suffer as pawns in the backbiting which can happen after a split and then they are told that their Dad or Mum is useless, selfish and don’t care about his/her family anymore.
There are various signs of loyalty issues like difficulties or problems in behavior during the time when the handover takes place. Perhaps they are not ready to go and see the other parent. The basic motive is that they don’t want to see their other parent getting saddened and make them realize that they are no more. But then putting this kind of burden on your child becomes really damaging. Though it will make you feel that they look as if they want to stay with you and not have a happy time with their other parent, the long terms effects of this situation would definitely not prove to be pleasing.
There might be a case that the child deliberately accuses the other parent just to please you and make you feel better. But this will only give a push to the birth of their own feelings of confusion and hurt. If the child has been a part of the family in which he didn’t get much support emotionally, he/she will start displaying the following traits –
• Ignorance towards the other parent
• Creating a distance from one of their parents emotionally or physically
• Retreating to studies in order to avoid the issue
• Becoming short-tempered, anxious and even acting phobic towards a parent.