How To Help Your Children Through Divorce: Our Top Tips
In this blog FLiP’s in-house counsellor Jo Harrison shares her top tips on how to get your children through the divorce process in the best possible shape:
Care for your own well-being as a parent and find a space with your ex to deal with both of your feelings about the end of the relationship so that these don’t place a burden on the children;
Handovers without conflict. Handovers can understandably become a place for some very raw emotions between parents; the more these are dealt with away from the children the less that handovers will become a stressful situation for you and the children;
Interest in the children’s responses to the situation. Be curious and attentive and try to notice what the children are expressing whether at home or at school particularly if it is out of the ordinary. Even unusually good behaviour is worth noticing;
Let children express their feelings about the separation, even if those feelings are hard to hear. If it feels extremely painful to hear their responses this may also signal that it could be helpful for a parent to have their own space to deal with some of the feelings coming up;
Delay introducing new partners if possible until both parents can agree how this is to be done and when it is appropriate and sensible to do this;
Remember as parents that you will have to work together in this new co-parenting relationship even more than you did before, in terms of communication, co-ordination, and collaboration;
Engage with your children in an age appropriate way about the situation and seek advice if you need help about how to do this – or read up on it;
Negative comments to a child about the other parent aren’t helpful and can be a source of stress on a child. Try to find another space to express feelings about your ex.
Jo Harrison is an in-house counsellor and family consultant at Family Law in Partnership. She has a depth and breadth of expertise in working with clients who are separating or divorcing and is sensitive to the impact of relationship breakdown and how it can affect individuals and families. As a relationship counsellor, Jo fully appreciates the emotional upheaval and difficulties of a separation and as a former family lawyer she understands the particular pressures of going through the legal process.