Middle School

During middle childhood, disclosure can become more complicated for a family, especially if unresolved infertility grief is involved. Based on Erik Erikson’s psycho-social model of adjustment, the child will begin to conceptualize her origin-story sometime during middle childhood, ages 8-12. During this stage, it is important for parents to pay special attention to a child’s emotional reactions. The child will be grappling with issues like ambivalence and begin to make social comparisons. Imagination may take on a strong role in anonymous donation and grief may emerge in unexpected ways. Families dealing with infertility grief may be resistant to open communication with their children. They may be unable or unwilling to recognize a child’s psychological needs, which over time could interfere with the parent-child relationship. A counselor can help parents work through any residual grief that may be getting in the way of open communication. Acceptance makes parents more flexible and capable of validating the child’s emotional reactions without taking it personally. According to sociologist, H. David Kirk, non-genetic parent-child relationships benefit when families engage in distinguishing behaviors. Parents who are able to distinguish and honor the child’s genetic uniqueness, while also celebrating their shared traits have a positive outcome on the child’s adjustment.

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