Separation from your child

From the day their child is born, most parents are readying themselves for the separations, large and small, that they’ll inevitably face, from dropping their kid off at the first day of school, to the first time they move out of the house as a new adult. But when a separation happens when it’s not supposed to and is unexpected, non-consensually or related to circumstances within/beyond the parent’s control. This is what human development experts call an off-time life event. At New Adult Pathways we have observed that this can turn a parent’s identity upside-down. The outcome is often that parents of children become depressed and engage in counterproductive actions and activities.

At New Adult Pathways we believe that it goes against the normal expectations a parent might have over the course of that young person’s life. A situation that sets these parents up for myriad forms of psychological and emotional suffering, both immediate and long-term. Our clinical team explain that while there’s plenty of research out there on how children are affected when they are separated from their parents, studies from the other side, observing the effects on the parents are limited. The separation studies that have been conducted tend to focus on separations that happen as a result of divorce, incarceration or military deployment.

Forceful separation is particularly damaging, when parents feel there’s nothing in their power that can be done to get their children back. New Adult Pathways have identified that without independent support parents are less likely to address the issues that related to the separation from the children. If you have been separated from your children through Family Issues (Federal/Informal), Domestic Violence Orders (DVO’s) or Child Protection Litigation (CPO’s), we are here to help.

Through practice we have established that parents are initially less likely to engage with services. This leads to a huge disadvantage in relation to separation as a result of litigation. New Adult pathways has found that without immediate support, parent/s are disadvantaged. Some Parents we have worked with have expressed sadness and despondency, problems sleeping, tearfulness, changes in energy, problems keeping up with a daily routine, increased antisocial behaviour and dramatic increases in addictive behaviours, when a child has been removed. From a professional viewpoint this is to be expected after a separation. However, when a parent lacks a list of concrete steps they can take to regain custody (after an intervention from child protective services), that sense of helplessness can mean that the symptoms of grief are compounded by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including nightmares, emotional numbness and an inability to stop reliving the separation over and over. Such feeling of being powerless over your child’s fate can also lead to something called ambiguous loss, in which a parent never gets the closure they need to fully resolve their grief. This is often the case for parents whose children have been placed upon long term guardianship/care orders. Which makes it harder to reach for the typical coping mechanisms that can help a parent through such a loss. New Adult Pathways have a proven track record in assisting parents address child protection goals and successfully reunify with their children. If you are experiencing this issue, please do not hesitate to contact your General Practitioner (GP) for a referral or our admin team by email admin@newadultpathways.org.au or by phone on 0412 726 245.