Minimising the stress of separation on children

May 27, 2015  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

divorcing with kids

A family with happily separated parents is far healthier than a family with miserable married parents. And while the separation process itself may be difficult, in the long run, resolving the issues of a broken relationship will provide a more stable and positive environment for children.

If you’re worried about how your children will cope with the stresses of divorce, the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co have a few suggestions for how to work through the hard times together and come out the other side stronger as a family:

  • Try a resolution-based method of separation like mediation or collaborative family law rather than putting your family through a court divorce. Out-of-court techniques have been proven to be more successful in the long term for couples with children and reduce the length, cost and stress of separation.
  • Put on a united front – show your children that you’re still able to co-parent even if you’re finding it hard to get along. Start as you mean to go on and break the news of your decision to separate together if possible.
  • Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your children, or ask them to pick sides, even on seemingly insignificant issues. Your relationship with your ex needs to stay separate from your children’s relationship with each of their parents. Don’t complicate their feelings with bitterness or jealousy.
  • Keep your routine as normal as possible. It’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re going through a difficult time, but your children are likely to find it less disruptive to keep to their usual activities and social life.
  • Respect that your children may need their own space away from the site of conflict – they may well find it easier to talk to someone objective about the situation like a friend, family member or counsellor. Give them time to open up to you too.
  • Be as honest as you can, but make sure the information you give your children about your divorce is age-appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to let them ask the questions they need answers to and keep things as concise as possible. Sometimes relationships just don’t work out – you don’t have to assign blame to provide an explanation.
  • Make sure your children understand that your separation is not their fault. It might sound like a cliché but children often worry that they are at the root of parental differences. Let them know that even though you don’t want to be together with your ex, you will still always be their parents.
  • Show your children the benefits of compromise and (amicable) negotiation. Seeing their parents resolve their disputes with respect and responsibility will go a long way to helping them heal.
  • Value the one-on-one time with your kids – you will have to get used to co-parenting separately, and it can be hard for children to get used to living in two different homes. Help the transition by giving them the love, attention, and space they need.

If you need help with minimising the disruption to your family during separation, speak to one of the friendly family lawyers at Frances Lindsay & Co. Our family law team have offices in Maidenhead, Beaconsfield and London, and can talk you through the different options for separation, including mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law and traditional divorce. Let us take the weight off your shoulders and help you find a way to resolve your differences that suits your family’s needs. 

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