How can I support my children during divorce / separation?

Rebecca Higgins Blog

At Barnes Clark Family Law, we understand that for many parents who have decide to divorce or separate, their primary concern is the impact on their children and how best they can help their children cope with the changes that are taking place.

We are specialists in family law and have a mediation service which also specialises in child inclusive mediation. We also understand the value of talking to children and the importance of discussing this with our clients. Offering guidance as to how and when to talk to your children about what is happening is of key importance and we will help you approach how to have this difficult conversation in a way that ensures your children are encouraged to share their worries and feelings.

Children can often seem to be coping well on the outside but we know from the many child mediation sessions we have been involved in, how difficult young people find it to share their own feelings. They will be very aware of the emotion and stress around them and conscious that they do not want to add to that. Even if your children seem to be coping well, it is worth taking time to go for a walk or take them out for tea so that you can ask them in a relaxed atmosphere whether there is anything troubling them. Reassure them that they won’t be making things worse by sharing their own worries.

Children may have a tendency to bottle things up and this does seem to be the case where parents have been unable to keep their emotions under control in front of their children and teenagers. However, whilst it is important not to fight in front of the family, it is definitely not the case that parents should keep everything from their children. Teenagers in particular will value being involved in discussions about how things will work in the future.

You may be surprised by some of your children’s questions and concerns. Be prepared for their viewpoint to have an influence on yours and potentially alter some of the decisions you make about family life after separation or divorce.

It is important to note that children benefit from having stable boundaries during periods of conflict and change. Keep family rules in place and don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of over-indulging your children to compensate for any unhappiness you might believe you are inflicting on them. Children are resilient and adaptable but they do not respond well to mixed messages.

However acrimonious your family breakdown, one of the most powerful things you can do to help your children through a divorce or separation is to be consistent, remain united as parents and maintain firm boundaries.

For more information on our mediation service or to find out how one of our solicitors can help, please contact us on 01274 861096 (Liversedge) or 01423 637272 (Harrogate) or email enquiries@barnesclarkfamily.law. Please note that we offer a free half an hour consultation.