If your child refuses reunification therapy, it can be challenging to deal with. Last month I met my college friend Jessy, who shared a story about her child refusing to attend reunification therapy. She said that when she approached her child and talked to them about it, they shut down and refused to discuss the topic.
She was feeling frustrated and didn’t know how to handle the situation. If you are also in the same situation as Jessy, here I will discuss eight things you can do to help your child through this tough time.
What is child reunification therapy?
Child reunification therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping children who have been separated from their parents overcome the psychological effects of separation. Child reunification therapy aims to help the child develop a positive view of themselves and their relationship with their parent and improve communication and coping skills.
Child reunification therapy typically involves weekly sessions with the child and their parent and individual sessions with the child. The therapist will work with the child to explore their feelings about separation, help them develop positive coping mechanisms, and teach them how to communicate effectively with their parent.
In addition, the therapist will support and guide the parent to help them create a healthy and supportive environment for their child. Child reunification therapy can be crucial in rebuilding the parent-child bond after separation.
Child Refuses Reunification Therapy: 8 Things You Can Do
Eight things that you should do when your child refuses reunification therapy. Follow each step accordingly.
1. Don’t force the child:
Don’t force the issue if your child refuses to participate in reunification therapy. Remember, forced reunification therapy will not be effective and may worsen the child’s relationship with their parent.
Instead, try to have a non-judgmental conversation with your child about why they are refusing therapy and listen to their concerns. Explain the benefits of reunification therapy compassionately and let them know that you are there for support.
Forcing a child to participate in reunification therapy is not recommended because it can cause more harm than good. Here’s why:
- Resistance and lack of engagement: If a child is forced to participate in reunification therapy, they may be resistant and uncooperative. This can lead to a lack of engagement and progress in the therapy, as the child may feel like they have no say in the process.
- Emotional distress: Forcing a child to participate in reunification therapy can also cause emotional distress. The child may feel like they are being forced to reconcile with a parent that they do not feel safe or comfortable around, which can be traumatic.
- Damaged trust: Reunification therapy relies on building trust and rapport between the child and the estranged parent. If a child is forced into therapy, it can damage their trust in the therapist and the parent, making it more difficult to build a healthy relationship.
- Negative association: If a child is forced to participate in reunification therapy and has a negative experience, they may associate therapy and counseling with the negative emotions and experiences they had during the forced therapy. This can make it more difficult for them to seek therapy in the future, even if they need it.
2. Be patient:
Healing takes time, and your child may not be ready for therapy at the moment. He/she may hate parents for any reason. Don’t push them into it if they are not willing or ready.
Instead, be patient when working with a child who is resistant to therapy. It may take some time for them to come around, but eventually, they will hopefully see the value in participating.
Also, continue to have open and understanding conversations with them about therapy and let them know that you are there for support when they decide they are ready to participate.
3. Talk to the therapist:
If your child refuses therapy, talk to their therapist about the situation. They may be able to offer some insight into why your child is resistant and how you can handle the situation.
The therapist may also be able to offer alternative forms of therapy or support for your child, such as individual therapy sessions.
4. Take a break from therapy:
If your child consistently refuses to participate in reunification therapy, taking a break from therapy may be necessary. During this break, try to work on repairing the parent-child relationship outside therapy.
You can do this through participating in activities together, having open and honest conversations, and showing love and support for your child. Then, once the relationship has improved, you can revisit the idea of child reunification therapy.
5. Offer alternative forms of therapy:
There are several alternatives to child Reunification therapy that may be helpful in cases where a child is struggling with issues related to family separation or estrangement. Here are a few examples:
- Play therapy: Play therapy can be helpful for children who are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues related to family separation. Play therapy provides a safe and supportive environment where children can express their feelings and work through their emotions.
- Family therapy: Family therapy can be helpful for families who are trying to work through conflict and rebuild their relationships. A family therapist can work with all family members to identify the underlying issues and help them develop strategies for moving forward.
- Individual therapy: Individual therapy can be helpful for children who are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues related to family separation. A therapist can work with the child to develop coping skills and strategies for managing their emotions.
- Co-parenting coaching: Co-parenting coaching can be helpful for parents who are struggling to co-parent effectively. A co-parenting coach can help the parents develop a parenting plan and work through conflicts that may arise.
- Support groups: Support groups can be helpful for children who are dealing with difficult emotions related to family separation. Support groups can provide a safe and supportive environment where children can share their experiences and receive support and guidance from others who are going through similar situations.
Overall, there are several alternatives to child Reunification therapy that can be helpful for families who are dealing with issues related to family separation or estrangement. It is important to work with a qualified professional who can help you determine which approach is best for your particular situation.
6. Seek outside support:
In addition to therapy, seeking outside support from family and friends can also be helpful for your child’s healing process.
Support from loved ones can offer a sense of comfort and understanding during this difficult time. You can also look into community resources such as support groups for children and families dealing with separation.
7. Build a positive relationship with their parent:
Even if child reunification therapy is not an option at the moment, you can still work on helping your child build a positive relationship with their parent.
Encourage open communication between them and create opportunities for them to spend time together in a safe and supportive environment. Also, work on building trust and repairing damaged family relationships.
8. Focus on your child’s well-being:
Above all, focus on your child’s emotional well-being and what they need to heal. This may mean taking a break from child reunification therapy or exploring alternative forms of therapy.
Listen to their concerns and support them as they work through their emotions surrounding separation from a parent. If they have any other preferences in this regard, try to accommodate them as much as possible.
What if your child refuses to allow you to be involved in their therapy? Discussed this matter deeply here:
7 FAQs on Child Refusing Reunification Therapy
Can a minor refuse court-ordered reunification therapy?
While courts have the power to order minors into therapy, minors retain the right to refuse treatment. This is based on the legal principle of autonomy, which holds that individuals can make their own decisions about their bodies and lives.
In the case of reunification therapy, minors may feel that they are being forced to confront painful memories and emotions that they are not yet ready to deal with. As a result, they may choose to refuse treatment to avoid further distress.
However, it is essential to note that courts will typically only order reunification therapy if it is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, minors who refuse treatment may be at risk of being placed in foster care or other forms of protective custody.
Why does a child refuse reunification therapy?
Much research has been conducted on why children refuse reunification therapy, mostly with parents who have lost custody of their children.
The findings have shown that most children refuse reunification therapy because they are afraid of their parents. They may have witnessed their parents argue or even physically fight, and they think that if they return to their parents, the abuse will start again.
Some children refuse reunification therapy because they don’t want to leave the foster family they are currently living with. They may have formed a strong attachment to their foster family and don’t want to leave them.
And lastly, some children refuse reunification therapy because they don’t want to go back to the home they were living in when the abuse occurred.
All of these reasons are valid and understandable, but therapists must try to work through these issues with the child so that they can reunite with their family.
Who pays for reunification therapy?
The cost of family reunification therapy can vary depending on the therapist, the length of the therapy, and the number of sessions.
In some cases, insurance may cover the cost of therapy. However, many insurers do not cover family reunification therapy, and it can be costly out-of-pocket. In addition, some therapists may only offer pro bono therapy to families who cannot afford to pay. As a result, the cost of family reunification therapy can be a barrier to seeking treatment.
Several organisations provide financial assistance for families seeking reunification therapy. These organisations may provide grants or subsidies to help cover the cost of therapy.
In addition, some therapists may offer sliding-scale fees based on income. As a result, many options are available for families who cannot afford the total cost of therapy.
What are the steps of reunification therapy?
The first step in reunification therapy is to assess the child’s current level of attachment to each parent. This can be done through various means, such as interviews, questionnaires, and observations.
Once the child’s attachment level has been determined, the therapist will gradually work to increase the child’s time with the non-custodial parent. This process is typically done slowly and methodically to avoid overwhelming the child or triggering negative emotions.
The ultimate goal of reunification therapy is to help the child form a healthy attachment to both parents so that he or she can thrive in a joint custody arrangement.
Several techniques can be used to achieve this goal, and the therapist will tailor the approach to fit the individual child’s needs.
What are the advantages of child reunification therapy?
Child reunification therapy is a type of counselling that can help families who have been estranged to reconnect and build healthy relationships.
This therapy can offer many advantages, such as helping children to understand and express their emotions, increasing communication and problem-solving skills, and promoting forgiveness.
In addition, child reunification therapy can provide a safe space for families to work through past hurts and pain. Families can develop stronger bonds and improve their relationships by working through these issues.
As a result, child reunification therapy can be an incredibly beneficial experience for families who have experienced estrangement.
What are the disadvantages of child reunification therapy?
While child reunification therapy can be an effective way to help families heal after a divorce, it can also cause some children to feel caught in the middle.
In some cases, former spouses may use the therapy sessions as an opportunity to argue or belittle one another, which can strain the relationship between the parent and child. Additionally, if one parent is significantly more invested in the process than the other, it can cause feelings of resentment.
Finally, child reunification therapy can be emotionally draining for everyone involved, and it may not be possible to resolve all issues in just a few sessions. For these reasons, weigh the pros and cons of child reunification therapy before deciding.
How many sessions are required for child reunification therapy?
The child reunification process begins with an initial assessment, which helps determine the level of support the child will need. After that, a series of sessions are held to help the child adjust to their new situation.
The number of sessions required varies depending on the individual case, but most children will need between four and six sessions. During these sessions, the therapist will work closely with the child and their caregivers to help them develop a healthy relationship.
In addition, the therapist will guide how to deal with any challenges. By working closely with the child and their caregivers, the therapist can help to ensure that the child can adjust to their new situation and develop a healthy, lasting relationship with their family.
The road to recovery is long, and every child will have different requirements when it comes time for therapy to help them reconnect with a parent.
You must handle the situation with kindness and patience, always keeping your child’s safety in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those who know best – therapists and loved ones can offer invaluable support and guidance during this difficult time.
Remember, child reunification therapy is not the only option for healing and repairing relationships within the family. There are various ways to support your child during this difficult time.