When a parental relationship breaks down there is often conflict between the separated parents, this can result in anger, stress and tension. Poorly managed parental separation can have long term negative impacts on children, impacting on their mental health and wellbeing.
During and after parents separate, high emotion and heightened conflict can distract parents from the needs of their children. These tips on supporting your children at this time may be helpful:
- Remind your children that even though things will change, they are and will always be loved by both parents.
- When talking about your separation be upfront and honest with your children, keeping in mind their age and level of understanding.
- Be careful not to share any negative feelings you may have about each other with your children.
- Where possible keep the children in their routine, such as going to activities, bedtimes and meal times.
- Be open and let your children know that it is ok to discuss their emotions with you and explain that it is normal to feel sad, confused or angry.
- Listen to your children and address any concerns they may have, allow them to ask questions and answer them as honestly as you can.
Family mediation can help parents manage conflict and empower them to develop more effective means of communication. The process enables parents to focus on their children though the development of co-parenting plan that benefits everyone involved. Engaging, voluntarily with the process of family mediation enables parents to negotiate a plan with the focus on the needs and wellbeing of their children, and ensure that future plans to co-parent are in the best interests of their children.
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