When you go through separation as a parent, it’s a little like starting a journey that you never thought you would go on. When you’re in a relationship, you have hopes for the future. Separating from your partner means that there is a loss of those hopes and expectations and you don’t know the direction your life will go in.
Your child will be shaped very much by how you and your child’s other parent behave towards him/her about the loss and how you behave towards each other. Important decisions such as where your child or children will live, and how often they see each parent will of course affect them, and so will the level of conflict between you and your child’s other parent. You may not think or feel as if you have any influence over the level of conflict and that it just happens. However, as you read this guide, we hope that you’ll see that each parent, regardless of who is felt to be provoking conflict or not, can manage it so it is less harmful to their children. This guide is designed to give some ideas for how to manage disagreements and high emotions that happen between separated parents. Similarly it points out ways to help children manage their feelings and reactions to being children of separation.
Although the process of adjusting to being a separated parent will at some point come to an end, your journey through life with your child does not. The main change that has happened for you as a parent is in the relationship with your child’s other parent. The change from being intimate partners to being parents with a calm mature relationship might feel like an uphill struggle, but you can use this guide to point you in the right direction.
In this guide you’ll find information on being a separated parent, how it can affect you and your children and how to change things for the better. It may seem like a lot to ask, but doing only one thing differently could lead to a whole range of possibilities that you never imagined could happen.
Did you know?
In Wales research has been done by Professor Gordon Harold – an eminent child psychologist – into the effects of parental conflict on children. This work found the best way parents can help children survive separation or divorce is to reassure them the relationship breakdown is not their fault. Even if there is conflict about them, children need to be told clearly it is not their fault and not their responsibility to find solutions or try to stop the conflict. This is because children who do feel responsible suffer the greatest harm, and this can affect the rest of their lives. However parents can do so much themselves by keeping their conflict away from their child, and making sure she/he is reassured it is not their fault or their responsibility to find solutions.