Helping your children during Separation/Divorce

When parents separate or divorce, many children find themselves facing worries and uncertainty about their future. Did you know that up to 40% of children will find themselves part of a separated family at some point during their young lives? Parents can make a huge difference to the level of stress experienced by their children. We’ve put together some tips and guidance to help them through this difficult time:

Communicate

A big part of the anxiety faced by children is due to the uncertainty that they feel in respect of their future. It’s important therefore that children are told what is happening and how it is likely to affect them. Be honest, realistic and open about the future as they will be conscious that change is inevitable. Listen to them and answer any questions that they have calmly. Never use these conversations as outlet to involve them in adult issues and/or as an opportunity to bad mouth your former partner. Regardless of how you feel your children love both parents very much and do not want to feel as though they need to be taking sides.

Support

In the same manner that you’ll need to adjust both emotionally and practically, the same will be the case for your children. You need to reassure them that it’s not their fault and that it’s ok to feel angry or sad. Of equal importance is that they know that both parents understand how they feel and that they are still loved. Work together with your former partner to ‘co-parent’, maintaining a stable routine with consistent boundaries. It is important that although the children may now have two homes, they feel safe, loved and have a sense of belonging. Extended family can also play in integral role in supporting children so ensure that they do not lose touch. In some cases help outside of the family is necessary, so ensure that there is access to other services if necessary.

Manage your emotions

When you separate you are likely to experience feelings of loss. Your emotions can be unpredictable and overwhelming. It is likely that the children will pick up on these feelings and when you are emotional your ability to make rational decisions is affected. Many relationship break downs are fraught and tense but it is important to always remember that although your relationship may have come to an end your parenting relationship must continue. Be aware, therefore, of the need to avoid conflict and seek your own support if necessary.

Let kids be kids!

It may be easy to lean on your children for support during the darker times but they should not become your support system. Many children feel pressure when their parents look to them for support. Remember that you are the adult, stay positive for your children and above all remember that are children at risk of being caught up in adult issues.

If you need advice as a result of relationship breakdown Rich and Carr can help. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the nearest office to make an appointment to see a member of our family team. Our family solicitors are:

Suki Makan

Claire Howkins