During my visits to primary schools last week I found some disturbing statistics that added to my own experience in counseling. These statistics show that there is a new transient population in and around the Yarra Valley. Many children will be moving to new schools next year and while some of this is because of the need to follow more affordable housing, much of it is because of the breakdown of the old and the forming of new relationships. While this may say something about those in these relationships, it certainly says a lot about what the children involved in these moves will have to contend with. They will be leaving old friends at school, making new ones at a new school, trying to adapt to mum or dad’s new partner, trying to be loyal to the absent partner, or rejecting them to seek the required love and attention where they are living. Added to this mix is that a father or mother will not be sharing everything with them this Christmas and what’s more they may have to relate to a new family of kids that they have not chosen to live with. If you are changing partners, and therefore changing addresses and schools, keep in mind the massive upheaval that your children will experience. Keep in mind that ‘you’ might be moving on to happier times with a new love and leaving the bad times behind, but this will not always be the children’s experience. Granted some children might be better off away from a destructive relationship, but there is a lot to be weighed up here. Because the child’s roots are torn they often experience anxiety, which may manifest in bed-wetting, poor performance at school or even bad behaviour. Sadly a number of parents referred to me from Primary School Principals and Chaplains refuse to take responsibility for the anxiety they produce in their children and continue to seek help ‘for the child’, effectively saying the child is or has the problem. Yes the child does have a problem, but many times the problems dissipate when the home base settles down and or the child feels secure. Maybe we could take more personal responsibility to bring repair to ailing relationships and attend to the security our children need in these formative years and therefore help them develop real roots.
Graeme Dawson B.Min.Grad.Dip. CC.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager
Inter-Church Action 0409 517273.