Separation/divorce or family transitions for example moving into a blended family, out of care or in with kinship carers, can be difficult not only for the parents/caregivers but for everyone. For children and young people the changes may be completely unexpected which can cause them to feel pretty mixed up and sometimes a bit scared by what will happen to them. Children and young people are never too young or too old for conflict, stress, arguments or parental separation not to affect them. Whatever their age they need continued love, reassurance and support. Family change can affect their behaviour, for example in the form of temper tantrums, outbursts, extreme sadness, withdrawal or difficulties at school. A young person may openly 'rebel' and 'go off the rails'.
Counselling helps children and young people talk about their thoughts and feelings about changes they may be experiencing in their life due family relationships breaking down, parental separation, divorce or moving into/living in a blended family. The sessions allow the child or young person to explore what their parents' separation/family conflict has meant for them, helping them to have confidence in themselves and to have a better understanding of the changes in their lives.
We offer confidential appointments to 8 to 18 year olds whose parents do not, or no longer live together, or where the young person/child does not or no longer lives with their parent(s). Our focus is on the family transition impacting on the child or young person (for example parents' divorce/separation, family fall-out, or difficulties with a step-parent etc.).
Counsellors are trained professionals who have thorough knowledge and understanding of the complexity of family life and separation, divorce and family restructuring. All our counsellors are fully qualified and our service is an organisational member of COSCA. They have to meet annual requirements to enable them to practice.
Children and young people can often feel conflicted about what to say to a parent about their own thoughts and feeling about the separation, the step-parents, siblings, or the other parent. They do not want to hurt anyone or they might simply prefer to show that they are ‘okay’ so the parent doesn’t worry about them, too. Talking to someone who is not directly involved with, or is not part of their family takes away these concerns and lets them talk freely. Speaking to a counsellor is a safe and neutral outlet for them.
A range of methods and tools such as toys, therapeutic games and exercises, books and art work are used to suit the particular needs and stages of the child or young person. All sessions move along at their pace, and are informal and relaxed.
It is important that parents understand a child or young person's right to privacy in the therapeutic setting. Confidentiality is crucial in creating a safe place for the child to feel free to express their feelings. Therefore we do not provide reports or details of the counselling sessions. The content of a session would remain with the child or young person and the counsellor unless the child or young person chooses otherwise or where we have a duty to pass the information on. Such an exception to total confidentiality would arise if for example a child makes a serious allegation that they or another child have been exposed to a dangerous/abusive situation.
We were lucky to have the counsellor with my child feeling confident to spend time with her and open up. It made such a difference in a safe and comfortable environment.
Relationships Scotland Family Mediation Tayside and Fife is the operating name of Family Mediation Tayside and Fife