If you and your partner are separating, your children will no doubt be your main concern. It’s important to try and maintain stability and routine for them wherever possible, despite other changes that will be happening in their lives. The main message must be that you both still love them despite living apart.
The Impact of Parental Conflict
It can sometimes be hard when you’re going through a relationship breakdown to put your emotions to one side. But it’s important for your children that you continue to make decisions based on their best interests, rather than in response to other areas of dispute. Experiencing the separation of their parents can have a short and long term impact on a child. It’s important as a parent to always think about how your behaviour may affect them and to put their needs first.
Parents should remain civil around each other, especially in the presence of the children who can easily pick up hostility between parents which can affect their wellbeing. It is understandable that your own emotions will be running high but it is important that you don’t burden your children with your own unhappiness or anger.
After the separation or divorce is complete, and you now have separate homes, it’s important for your children to be able to enjoy a full relationship with both parents. There is a responsibility on both of you to ensure this happens, unless there is a very good reason why it shouldn’t happen.
Helping Your Child to Adjust to the Changes
When it comes to devising suitable parenting arrangements, there is more to think about than just the practical issues of where your child will reside or who will make the decisions about education. You need to think about things from your child’s perspective in terms of the psychological effects and the mixed emotions they may be experiencing.
It can be hard to maintain a once happy childhood for your children in the midst of a separation or divorce. You need to keep in mind that your child will need the love and support of both parents to adjust to the changes in their lives. This will enable the children to maintain and develop their bonds with both parents as well as ensuring they don’t feel responsible for the relationship breakdown. You both still have parental responsibility for your children and must ensure the decisions you make are in their best interests.
If you work together as parents and remain civil to each other, you can help your children adjust to the changes in their lives. As hard as it can sometimes be, their needs must come before your own.
For more information on parental responsibility, read a previous blog here.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer specialist, clear and grounded advice to parents in matters relating to children. To speak with a Family Lawyer call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.