Helping Your Child Through Separation

Our Francine Bristo offers some guidance on helping your child through separation

Separation is difficult for everyone including children.  It is hard to parent when you are struggling with your emotions.  There is information and support out there, be kind to yourself and get help where you need it.  It is important to look after yourself.  Life will be difficult for a while but there is lots you can do to reduce the impact of the separation on your children.  Co-parenting is hard but it is so very worthwhile.  When parents co-parent their children well the outcomes are better for everyone.

Maintain a working co-parenting relationship with your ex and avoid exposing your children to conflict.  Being patient, offering repeated reassurance and a listening ear can make a huge difference at this uncertain time.  Keep the comfort of routine where possible.

When telling the children about the separation prepare what you will say.  Choose somewhere quiet, free of distractions.  Let the children know it is not their fault and it is a grown up issue.  Make it clear that you both still love them and nothing will change that.  Tell the truth, address the changes and practical arrangements and present a united front.  Make your explanation age appropriate.  Where you don’t have the answers say that you don’t and that you will let them know when you do.

Help your child grieve the separation by listening, helping them with their emotions, allowing honesty, acknowledging their feelings and keeping the lines of communication open.  It is normal for children to feel angry, anxious and depressed and it can take some time to work through these issues.  Where things don’t improve and get worse after several months your child may need additional support.

If you need any advice regarding your children then please contact us.