Children and Separation

Children and Separation

It is very important to be there for your children during this tumultuous time. Most children will feel vulnerable and have many fears – some realistic, some unfounded. Try and keep as many normal routines as possible and develop new ones together. Make sure you inform the school of any changes and stay involved with the children’s activities and friends. This may be difficult at first because of all that is happening in your life.

  1. Don’t expect your children to look after you emotionally (you are the parent). 
  2. Don’t talk negatively about your former partner to the children.
  3. Don’t ask your children to play ‘messenger’ between parents. 
  4. Don’t quiz your children about the other parent and what he/she is doing. 
  5. Be alert to any signs of distress including physical illnesses or changes in behaviour. 
  6. Encourage your children to attend counselling if they need to talk to someone outside the family.

Even adult children may experience intense emotions at this time. But generally children are resilient in the face of major change and once the situation has stabilised, they often manage well. 

Relating to your former partner 

If you have children together you will remain linked as parents and will have to learn how to deal with your former partner. 
Aim to make the ongoing parenting relationship as manageable and constructive as possible. Always be civil to your former partner without compromising on safety. It can help to establish a business-like relationship with them.

  1. Focus on the children, not the past relationship.
  2. Hold meetings at a neutral location if possible.
  3. Use the telephone, email or communication book if face to face discussion is a problem.
  4. Consider legal advice, family dispute resolution or counseling if you have difficulties.
  5. Be flexible – children have commitments and special occasions will arise.
  6. Consider special days in advance such as Christmas and children’s birthdays.
  7. Do not breach or allow any breach of a Court order that prohibits contact with your former partner.