The separation of parents and breakup of the family unit is inevitably a distressing time for children. Couples who are going through a difficult separation often neglect to consider their children’s feelings because they are so wrapped up in their own sadness. They may not even realise how deeply the children are affected. It is important to remember that even though the parents’ relationship has broken down the relationship between each parent and the child will continue. It has been statistically shown that children whose parents divorce or separate with low conflict have coped much better than those who witness hostility. Children whose parents have separated cope better when they have access to both parents and both parents’ extended families as opposed to those who are being denied access to half their family by an aggrieved parent.
It can be a difficult time for children and they need constant reassurance that the separation is not as a result of their behaviour, that it is ok for them to feel angry, confused and sad and it is very important that they understand that both parents still love them and, just as important, it is ok for them to still love both parents.
It is easier said than done, and there are times when you will find it impossible, but research shows that there needs to be open communication between separating couples and their children and the children need to know what is happening and how their lives are going to change if they are to thrive in the future. Common issues to be resolved when children are involved are:-
- Issues of contact
- Issues of the child’s primary residence
- Issues concerning financial arrangements whether they are privately agreed or through CSA
Advice for Parents