It has been months since Sam’s parents split up and he looks a lot better today than when he first came. Then he cried and cried – and he’s 13 so it is not a common sight – this clever boy was devastated when his parents told him they were separating. Mother told me that they had not got on well for years and that this was almost inevitable, but it seems to have come as a big shock to Sam, although his sister and brother seem to be coping well. For session after session, I have just encouraged Sam to tell me how he feels and to help him  ‘reframe’ what he is experiencing, all the while not allowing him to retreat into a fantasy of his parents getting back together. I have told him that, while it is possible, it is easier if he thinks this is forever and tries to see the advantages. Both parents have been to see me and clearly want to help Sam and the others to be happy. The father has been visiting the home every day and has probably spent more time with each of his children since separated than he did before.  However, he has also been on a couple of holidays with a colleague, and Sam has been on holiday with his mum and siblings but without his father. Today he came in chatty and full of plans for the weekend. The appointments have moved from weekly to every three or four weeks and he seems to have done well. He tells me how his father has moved into his own house and, though Sam looks tearful as he tells me this, he cheers up and tells me how they watched television together and of the new kitten they will collect in three weeks. He’s clearly delighted about the kitten and happy to have spent the night alone with his father – the parents are sensibly allowing each child to have their own space and time with each parent. Sam still has many worries about all this though he wants a return to the status quo.  Even though his parents argued about most things, especially money, he preferred the familiar. Sam liked knowing that his parents were under the same roof, even if they were arguing or not speaking. It’s strange how most children prefer to know that their father and mother are in the same house as them, even though they might barely talk to them other than to say a hurried ‘Hi, dad’ on the way to school. And Sam and I have more things to talk about – as he is leaving, his mum asks for a private word and tells me that Sam thinks he smelled perfume on his father’s pillow at the new house????  I don’t know if this represents progress or not. Clearly Sam is becoming more accustomed to things and happier to trust his mum and talk things over with her. On balance, this seems like a good thing.   This was written almost two years ago…. funny how things have moved on. Sam failed his last appointment and had failed one before. He has applied to do various A levels, and continues to chef as a part-time job, making stacks of money and having a jolly life. His Mum has a boyfriend whom he gets on well with, his Dad has become an optional extra in that he will talk to him sometimes but is no longer devastated by absences, nor does he feel let down. His  Mum is wanting to move house and that seems to be seen as an opportunity rather than a loss. Sam is voting with his feet – he feels fine. Now. It’s great. I have succeeded if there remains a vague memory of a bad time and someone helping….can’t remember who exactly, but that’s OK.

Privacy Preference Center