Prioritising children’s wellbeing during separation

Children are often left dealing with many unanswered questions when their parents have chosen to separate and it is not always obvious to parents that during this time their children may be experiencing anxiety.

Anxiety during separation is often a result from children experiencing uncertainty and absorbing the negative emotions from parental conflict and throughout this time, children endure a range of feelings.

Some of these can be feelings of guilt, “Mum will be mad if she knows I have fun spending time with Dad” or anger, “My parents are always fighting about money. It is all my Mum talks about, I am sick of it” or wanting to solve the problem and seek clarification “If I behave myself, be extra good at school, my mum and dad will hopefully get back together”.  

Whilst separating, parents are also experiencing a range of emotions such as sadness, anger, grief, guilt and resentment. Managing these emotions whilst remaining child focused can be extremely challenging, especially when each parent can be at different stages of accepting the separation.

Although separating can be a distressing time for parents, it is important to focus on children’s wellbeing and be aware of their emotion and Family Dispute Resolution can help parents achieve this through a child focused co-parenting process.

Family Dispute Resolution provides parents with an opportunity to talk about issues related to the wellbeing of their children and with the support of a mediator, parents can start communicating in a way that allows for shared parental decision making to occur. This can allow both parents to feel valued in making plans about what is most important for their children and commence the child focused co-parenting, which can avoid legal processes through the Family Law Court.

The outcomes from co-parenting often reflects in children’s emotions as they begin to see more consistency and predictability in their family relationships. This can encourage more positive thoughts for children “I really like it when Mum and Dad both are there watching me play soccer” and reduce any uncertainties “I now don’t feel worried as I know things aren’t going to change at the last minute”.

Overall, parents working cohesively provides the stability for children to feel loved and supported during separation “I can talk to my Mum or Dad if I am feeling worried or sad, they are always checking to make sure I am OK”.

If you think Family Dispute Resolution could assist you, your family or someone you know please call 1300 303 988 for more information.