Divorce… What about the children ?

Unpleasant negative feelings emerge in response to situations of conflict. When couples are in conflict it is not only destructive to them personally, it is unpleasant for the others around them, especially their children. Divorce may be decided if conflict cannot be resolved, for others there may be no conflict just a feeling they are no longer in love with their partner and want to be separated. If a third party is involved there is often anger, resentment and pain. No matter what the issue is if divorce or separation is inevitable then finding a way forward to remain amicable is always the best way for everyone involved.

“Easier said than done!”,  I expect you are thinking. However it can be done.

If there are children involved, you will probably be considering co-parenting, and the reality is that you will have to adopt a different relationship as parents to your children. You may have separated from each other, however, generally neither parent wants to separate from their children.

Nightingale couple counsellors can help with:

  • How, what, and when do we tell the children?
  • Decide a set of boundaries agreed by both parties
  • Encourage harmony to ease the transition
  • Devise a plan of action as you move forward separately
  • Ensure you agree how and when you communicate about your children
  • Third party contact and their role
  • Bringing the couple relationship to an end

Children involved with separating parents are entitled to parents who can communicate sensibly and without conflict,  who have their best interests at heart and who feel no confusion or anguish about living arrangements and how much time is spent with each parent, until they are at an age when they can make their own decisions.

This is their birthright.

Every parent works towards the same goal; to help nurture a child into a balanced young adult, ready and equipped to take on the challenges of living and thriving in our complex modern world. Understanding your own legacy goes a long way to making a better one for your children.

Children in the middle of divorcing parents are often very confused and sad. All they want is for their parents to stay together. However if they cannot stay together their next wish is for them to be friends.

NEVER ARGUE IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN

Some of the changes you may notice in your children:

  • Sadness
  • Anger towards other children
  • Acting out, difficult behaviour
  • Can be anxious about school
  • Longing for and missing the parents being together
  • Disrupted relationships with grandparents and other family members
  • Blaming themselves
  • Torn by loyalties to each parent
  • Anger when one or other of the parents is behaving badly
  • Anxiety about what is expected of them
  • Anxiety about whether they may be abandoned by both parents
  • Loneliness. Often parents in conflict forget to talk to their children
  • Feeling sad that either parent may be alone
  • Identity crisis about who they are
  • Disappointment
  • Confusion as to where they live
  • Confusion about who they like best
  • Acting out overly excited
  • Keen to impress to avoid abandonment
  • Playing one  parent off against the other
  • Insecure feeling as boundaries are changed or are no longer there
  • Struggles with acceptance of children from another relationship

If you want to be a great parent who is separated from your partner and co-parent of your children, please spare a thought for the effects of the separation. Parents of separated children need to work together to ensure they minimise the negative effects of divorce on their children. Children need their parents to help them to move through the transition without having to be subjected to anger and bad feelings.

Often separated parents exchange their children without a smile or a kind word. Think carefully: how does this feel for your children?

“By the time we arrived at Nightingale it felt as though it was already too late. We could barely speak to each other without anger or tears and there seemed to be no common ground. Sessions with Florence gave us space and a safe place to talk. Slowly and sensitively she helped us explore how we had reached this point and to think about how we might move forward. We developed a new understanding of what had led to our growing apart and empathy for each other’s feelings.”

“In the end we decided not to stay together, but we have become strong partners and have stayed on good terms throughout the separation, mainly because all the hate and hurt had already been dealt with. This has helped our children, our family, and our friends come to terms with the situation, as they saw that there was a maturity about the way we were able to deal with each other. Personally I am amazed at how much we have both grown through the process and all because we now both feel we have been listened to and understood. Thank you, Florence.”

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