“It takes a village to raise a child” meaning a child needs a community of people to positively interact with in order to grow in a safe and healthy environment.
Support from each other as parents, support from grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends are all important in your child’s development.
But what happens when parents separate acrimoniously?
Often the relationships that the children enjoyed with you both and your extended family changes. It can become difficult – especially in the early weeks and months of separation – for you as parents to be able to put in place flexible and workable arrangements for your children.
This can sometimes be a logistical issue, one of you as moved away from the family home, work patterns and children’s school routine have also had to change.
However it is not always simply logistical issues that get in the way of positive parenting.
When we are hurt and angry, or sad, we can adopt all sorts of different responses:
- Punishment – we might stop our children from seeing the other parent to punish them for leaving.
- Feelings of insecurity/jealousy – we might alter arrangements or stop arrangements when our ex has a new partner and wants to introduce them to “your” children.
- Alienate the other parent, you feel so hurt, so betrayed, by your ex and you express this to your children and want them to take sides with you, which can be extremely damaging to children.
So often communication breaks down between partners and spouses around the time of separation and sadly this can continue years afterwards.
Take a look at this sobering video, you can see the long term effect on children whose parents were unable to reach an agreement on flexible and workable child arrangements.
How can you work together to put child arrangements in place when you separate?
Put simply, by putting your children first. Your children did not ask for your divorce, and they need time to adjust to and understand the changes that it inevitably brings about.
What do your children need during a separation need?
Your children are a part of both of you
- They love you both
- They want to see you both
- They want peace and support
- They need to know they matter to each of you
- They need to be listened to
Thinking about what your children need from you as parents and how you are going to put this in place is the work we at Horizon Mediation do every day as family mediators.
You may also find this link to the CAFCASS website useful as the site focuses on how co-parenting works after a separation and gives lots of advice for both parents and children on handling these stressful situations.
What can you do to help your children?
There is nothing most parents would not do for their children which includes bringing an end to your relationship in a way that protects your children from the issues you face as former partners and allows you all to work together as a separated family.
As FMC accredited family mediators we are here to help you work together to make arrangements that work well for you and your family. Please do take a look around our site and then contact us to find out more about how we can help you and your children during this stressful time.