“My client is a 15 years old girl, whose parents got separated when she was 8 years old and now studies in a Residential School. Due to the pandemic situation she is at her father’s home. Both father and mother got married again. Now she has to make a decision about which parent she wants to live with and there is family pressure upon her decision. How do I help her?
I understand it’s hard to decide with whom to stay when you equally love and want both the parents or when there is a lot of pressure from both the sides. There are few things which are not clear. With whom the teenager was staying after the separation of parents till date? Was she in residential school and both the parents would regularly visit? It’s important to know to which parent client is close to and with whom she would be more comfortable staying? Explore if the client has any apprehensions about expressing her preference about with whom she would like to stay. Fear could be, another parent will be upset with her or distance himself/herself from her, or end the relationship with her. Also get information on the client’s perception about her parents’ relationship. This would be important while planning a conjoint session. After you have few sessions with the client on exploring these things then the conjoint sessions (including parents) would be helpful to discuss this matter. It would be good to understand the expectations of her parents on this matter and facilitate healthy discussion to come to consensus (conflict resolution & problem solving). If both the parents are staying in the same town then arrangement of how the client can regularly visit another parent and be in touch with him/her can be made.
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