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Helping Your Child Cope With Separation

Helping Your Child Cope With Separation

There is a lot of research out there to tell us what is good for our children. But what is helpful for them when parents separate?

Research tells us that children cope better when:

  • They don’t see their parents arguing over prolonged periods of time. Some arguing is inevitable but the less the children see or hear the better.
  • If they can see their parents co-operating by sharing rules, boundaries and plans.
  • When both parents are respectful of the other parent and do not openly criticise each other.
  • When there is a safe space for them at either house (a place to put their belongings and some familiar objects).
  • Let children be children. They don’t need details of your separation and/or finances. Keep it simple. Give them a simple explanation and stick to it.
  • They are not asked to choose between parents. Reassure you child that they are loved by you both.
  • Parents continue to parent and continue to make arrangements on behalf of the child, rather than the child being responsible for making arrangements or carrying messages.
  • When they are made aware of any changes in routine/arrangements or for older children where they are consulted on arrangements that might impact upon them (given some choices).
  • They are able to stay in contact with wider family and friends.
  • They have parents who listen, talk and ask questions.
  • They are reassured that the separation is not their fault.