What is Family Reunification?
Family Reunification is designed to heal the relationship between a parent and child(ren) whose relationship has been negatively impacted. Studies consistently demonstrate that children are better socially, academically, and emotionally if they have both parents in their lives. Family Reunification is a healthy way to make that happen.
Children can be especially impacted by separation, divorce or estrangement, and this can result in them pulling away from one parent or the other. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and is not always the result of poor parenting. Whatever the situation, the goal of Family Reunification is to reunite children and parents and to help them enjoy a close, strong relationship that will provide an adequate amount of emotional connection and support. Often, parents who have gone through a divorce or separation lack the skills they need to avoid conflict and reconnect with their children. This can be especially true when attempting to spend time with adolescents, who are already going through many changes and find it difficult to communicate with their parents.
Family Reunification is not simply reuniting family members. It is designed to improve the lives of children through their parental relationships, led by a qualified Family Reunification Professional. Family Reunification can address separation and related contact problems between parent and child. It can also help separated or divorced families work through thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors, as well as issues like depression and anxiety. The primary goal of Family Reunification is to help children and parents improve their ability to enjoy healthy family relationships.
How does Family Reunification work?
Family Reunification can be voluntarily, but in some cases, it may be required by the court. Family Reunification may be court-ordered to ensure children are not abandoned by parents or help prevent parental alienation. Other reunification efforts are parent-initiated when parents feel their family dynamic needs improvement; the parent decides to make contact with a Family Reunification Professional, and the courts are not involved.
Family Reunification can be difficult when children are reticent or uncertain about being reunited with their parents, but it can be especially problematic when court-ordered. Not all the parties may be willing. Sometimes there is extreme loyalty between one parent and the child and hostility between the child and the other parent. This may stem from a variety of causes, such as a shared delusional beliefs about one parent between the child and the other parent.
The situation can feel even more fraught when it involves extended family members, a custody reversal, or other complications. Family Reunification Professional are recruited to improve a multitude of dynamics, many of which might be long-standing and tenuously held. Although Family Reunification can seem frightening – especially if it’s court-ordered – many families turn to Family Reunification Professionals to ease the transition from alienation to fully functional.
Family Reunification often encourages individual therapy as a sidebar to process what is happening in Family Reunification. Therapy allows parents the space and ability to work on any personal issues that may have contributed to the divorce, the disrupted parent-child relationship, or any other problematic areas of their family’s life.
Family Reunification focuses on making sure parents and children are united and together, but also hopes to encourage everyone in the family to engage in healthy, honest behaviors and increased communication to prevent issues in the future.
Court-Ordered Family Reunification
In some cases, Family Reunification is not one entered into willingly but is required. Typically, it’s mandated by the Court, but can also be ordered as a part of a couple’s divorce proceedings. So why might the Court order Family Reunification?