children separation page parents

Going through a divorce, or separation, is one of the most stressful activities that you can possibly undertake.

Parental information

Of course, divorce can be a very complicated situation for both former parents and children. It can cause considerable anxiety and can be very hard to deal with at first. Even if you have reached a mutual decision to separate mediation is a good way to resolve your problems

Divorce and children

Children are anxious if their parents are going to divorce. The family unit is usually their source of stability and now their future seems unstable and uncertain. It is very important that parents should try to reassure children that although things may have changed, that their parents are still working together to achieve a sense of continuity for them. The division of parents into two separate households can be a particular cause for concern.

One way in which you can help children to cope with the changes associated with divorce or separation is to continue with old habits and routines. Children like a sense of certainty and they can gain from proper scheduling and organisation.

You should think about the daily routines that your child has expected in the past and try to maintain these patterns. Think about things such as children’s bedtime routines, journeys to and from school and maintaining children’s friendships and other social links.

Children and your ex-partner

Children appreciate honesty when talking to them about your ex-partner. However, it is important that you consider your child’s age when you are discussing these issues with them. You need to be sensitive to the child in all circumstances, thinking about their needs and feelings.

Some ideas for talking about the process of separation with your children are:-

Talk to the children together, when both parties are parents.
Do not ascribe blame to either party. Children do not like to hear criticisms of their parents.
It is best to speak to the children before you change living arrangements. This gives them time to adjust to the new situation.
Talk to children about changes to their routine.
Try not to argue in front of the children. You are bound to have disagreements but it is very important that children see that you can sort out your problems as responsible adults.
Try to think of yourselves as parents, rather than as ex-partners.

Talking about the separation or divorce

Although your first feelings may be to argue or to disagree with your partner it is very important to keep the lines of communication open.

Some ideas for keeping clear communication with your partner:-

As stated above, do not disparage your ex-partner in front of your children. Try to keep the conversation civil. It should be your priority to eventually make discussions and conversations with your partner as reasonable as possible.

Concentrate on the best features of your family members

It may be best to keep details of your partner’s behaviour away from your children. In some circumstances you will experience very strong emotions about your ex-partner. This is completely normal, but you should communicate with someone about these feelings. You may need to talk to a friend, or other supportive person. In some circumstances, you may consider counselling or another form of therapy to help you to get through this difficult period. You should remember that counselling is not the same as mediation.

Keeping your children informed

It is important that information is age appropriate. Younger children will not be able to process as much detail as older ones can. However, you know your children best and should be able to make a judgement as to the form, and content, that you can take in.

The importance of mediation

In reducing the damage that divorce and separation can do to children, legal solutions are not necessarily the best route. Legal proceedings can be adversarial and can lead to more disputes and disagreements between parents. As an alternative, mediation is a much more sensitive process. It is certainly in the best interests of parents, and children, to consider mediation.