The many faces of a child’s suffering in cases of separation

In all cases of separation, children must be respected above all else. Those who do not take them into consideration, who use them to seek revenge for old resentments, or who do not accept the separation do not respect them. Those who do not listen to them and who think that if a child says bad things about a parent he/she should be taken away without looking further into the matter do not respect them. Those who, in the face of parental conflict, take them away, exposing them to another trauma, do not respect them. Those who investigate the mother or father superficially, making the children experience the anxiety of having a bad parent, do not respect them. Those who ask them to choose between Mommy or Daddy, who leave them alone with the fear of never seeing one or both parents again, do not respect them. Those who label one of the parents crazy, bad, selfish, a traitor, in front of the them do not respect them. Children and adolescents must feel that their father and mother love them even if they did not get along and have made many mistakes, sometimes even serious. No-one should taint the idea a child has of a his/her parents. That child/adolescent will grow up to be a man/woman and will not be stable and balanced if someone, even one of his/her parents, has deprived him/her of a fundamental element for his/her sound development. If a family is conflictual it must be helped from within, without sending anyone away. The professional expert must monitor, talk to, follow the family from within – even if it is separated – obviously without taking sides, and by so doing he/she may prevent the children from being used, hold back the parent who wants to destroy the other parent in the eyes of the children. In Italy the professional figure of the Parent Coordinator does not exist so that – except in situations of serious violence – no-one can decide to separate a child from his/her parents. It is sufficient to analyze each individual case and to intervene with whoever is interfering with that family’s life without making room for abuses of power or slander that can only generate the illusion of power and cause a great deal of unnecessary suffering that is dangerous for everyone, especially the children.

Dr Stefania Jade Trucchi