This week is Resolution’s Family Dispute Resolution Week; a week highlighting the alternatives to court for separating couples. Separated parents are being encouraged to recognise that at times of family difficulty it is easy for adults to forget what it is like to be a child. Here are our top 10 tips for separated parents to put your children first:
- Put your child's needs first. This sounds obvious, but in the emotional turmoil of separation it can sometimes be difficult to do.
- Separate your feelings about your relationship with your ex-partner from your relationship as co-parents.
- Set ground rules around how and when you and your co-parent will communicate.
- Agree to only communicate about the children. If you need to discuss other issues do so at a different time.
- Be prepared to agree to disagree over different parenting styles. Even couples who live together often have differing views on raising children.
- Plan ahead for special occasions, for example holidays and travelling, Christmas and birthdays.
- Encourage each other to parent cooperatively. Try to agree a consistant parenting approach regarding important issues, whilst letting each parent spend quality time with the children.
- Keep your word. Turning up late only makes the situation worse for your children and chips away at trust between you and your co-parent.
- Be flexible with your child arrangements plan, within reason. Life is not always predictable and both of you may find that a little give and take is beneficial to all.
- Support your child's relationship with your co-parent and accept their role in your child's lives. You are co-parents not competitors.
If you would like to know more about how you can put your children first, Resolution have produced a fantastic resource, Separation and Divorce – Helping parents to help children, which covers a range of topics about the separation process as well as information about how children are affected and can be helped.