MINNETONKA, Minn. — It's the image that captured hearts.
A little girl posing with her father and future step-dad captured hearts on social media. The photos, taken before a daddy-daughter dance, have been shared more than 131,000 times on Facebook.
“It says we have put aside our differences, resentment history and our financial bickering and we have looked at this precious little princess and saw this child. We both adore her and let's agree on that."
Dr. Sally Beck is a psychotherapist with Faith Works Counseling in Minnetonka.
Her source of knowledge is rooted in experience.
“I was a foster child. I have step children and three biological children,” she said from her office. “I know what it is like to be in a warm environment and not a warm environment.”
The author of the Facebook post writes, “Our daughter Willow. You may never know how your love has changed us all.”
But that isn’t the case for every family. So how do families find a new healthy reality?
“When I talk to the families first about how we are going to go about introducing to their child a different way of living. The most important thing is not about how the structure of their life is going to be, the important thing is that they always feel, wherever they are with either parent or in a blended situation, that they belong,” Beck said.
She continued, “Think about that child and how they can connect and make that child feel like they are the core of their hearts. And that means, divorced parents need to work together to establish that community of blended family. Parents need to think more of the child than they think of the resentment and bitterness they had in a previous marriage or relationship.”
Beck says parents must also help children understand that changes happen in life.
“The kids aren't to blame. That is the important piece. They have to recognize that they are still valued and loved, and it is not their fault,” she said. “So they can make sure that child's transition is smooth and always having that feeling of safety. Those are the basic primary needs of a child: Sense of safety and belonging.”