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J Pediatr Nurs. 2018 Nov - Dec;43:e44-e51. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2018.09.003. Epub 2018 Sep 18.

Living in Two Worlds - Children's Experiences After Their Parents' Divorce - A Qualitative Study.

Author information

1
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway.
2
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway. Electronic address: asli@hvl.no.
3
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway; Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how children living in two homes after parents' separation experience their everyday lives.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

An inductive qualitative design was chosen for the study using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Twelve children aged 10-13 years, and living in two homes, were interviewed. The data analysis used the four fundamental lifeworld existential dimensions: "lived body", "lived time", "lived space" and "lived human relations" as guidelines for reflections during the research process.

RESULTS:

The overall understanding of the children's experience was that living in two homes was like living in two worlds. The children struggled with feelings of loss, loyalty and attachment. The children's experiences are described in four themes and nine subthemes. The themes are: Facing a changing home, Bridging new relations, Longing for continuity, Feeling loyalty.

CONCLUSIONS:

Parents' separation and living in two homes can be stressful for children. Children felt torn between their feelings of loyalty toward their parents, and their longing for calm and stability in their everyday life. A child-centered approach is therefore important to develop support focusing on the children's needs and perspectives after their parents' divorces.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

A deeper understanding of children's experience of living in two homes provides nurses who care for children in the community or health care service with knowledge of children's need for support. Children whose parents have recently divorced, and children who live in families with parents experiencing high levels of conflict after the separation need special attention.

KEYWORDS:

Child-centered care; Children; Lived experience; Living in two homes; Nurses in community or health care service

PMID:
30241782
DOI:
10.1016/j.pedn.2018.09.003

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