Separation and divorce can be incredibly challenging and stressful for children, especially when there is high conflict between the parents. During these times, it is common for children to experience what is known as resist and refuse dynamics, in which they may feel caught in the middle and unsure of how to respond to the conflicting demands and expectations of their parents.
However, it is crucial that children have the opportunity to work through these resist and refuse dynamics with a parent or other supportive adult, in order to heal and recover from the trauma of the separation. In this blog post, we will explore why this is so important, drawing on the insights and expertise of child and family therapists John Moran, Matthew Sullivan, and Tyler Sullivan.
The Impact of High Conflict Separations on Children
High conflict separations can have a significant and lasting impact on children, affecting their mental and emotional well-being in a number of ways. Some common effects include:
- Increased anxiety and stress
- Depression and feelings of sadness
- Difficulty trusting others
- Difficulty with attachment and relationships
- Decreased self-esteem
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty with school and academic performance
It is essential that children receive the support they need to navigate these challenges and to heal from the trauma of the separation.
Why Working Through it is Important
According to John Moran, Matthew Sullivan, and Tyler Sullivan, working through resist and refuse dynamics with a parent is crucial because it allows children to process their feelings and experiences related to the separation. By doing so, they can develop a deeper understanding of what is happening, and begin to make sense of the conflicting demands and expectations they are facing.
This process can be incredibly therapeutic and empowering for children, helping them to build resilience, self-awareness, and self-esteem. It also helps them to feel heard and understood, and to develop a sense of trust in the relationship with the parent who is helping them through this process.
In addition, working through resist and refuse dynamics with a parent can also help to reduce conflict between the parents, which can have a positive impact on the children’s overall well-being and reduce the risk of long-term harm.
Tips for Parents to Help Children Work Through Resist and Refuse Dynamics
If you are a parent facing high conflict separation, here are some tips to help your children work through resist and refuse dynamics:
- Be supportive and understanding: Children need to feel understood, so it is important that you listen to their feelings and experiences, and respond with empathy and support.
- Create a safe and predictable environment: Children thrive in safe and predictable environments, so it is important that you provide this for them during this difficult time.
- Encourage self-expression: Allow your children to express their feelings and thoughts, and provide a supportive space for them to do so.
- Seek help from a trained resist-refuse dynamic therapist: If you are struggling to help your children through this process, consider seeking help from a child and family therapist who can provide guidance and support.
Working through resist and refuse dynamics with a parent during high conflict separations is crucial for children’s healing and recovery. By providing support, creating a safe environment, encouraging self-expression, and seeking help from a therapist when necessary, parents can help their children navigate this difficult time and build resilience for the future.
Looking for help with resist and refuse dynamics in your family? Call us today!