Top 10 Tips for Parenting Post-separation
Whilst a family breakup can be sad and difficult, it does not need to be catastrophic. Life goes on after all. And some families even manage to thrive and grow after separation.
Unfortunately, parenting post-separation is not always straight forward. When parents can’t manage their new relationship as separated parents positively it is ultimately the kids who suffer the most. Here is a list of our top ten post separation parenting strategies for having happy kids.
- Routine is important to children – Children like to know what is going to happen and when. Don’t keep chopping and changing things around. This can be stressful for the kids but it can also be stressful for the parents too if they have to constantly renegotiate. Set up a routine and stick to it.
- Provide predictable and steady parenting – If you feel things are getting out of control – get help. There are parenting courses available which can help you. Look for the Triple P Parenting course.
- Learn when to hold your tongue – Never discuss grown up stuff in front of the kids. When the other parent presses your buttons in front of the kids – bite your tongue and walk away – you will get the opportunity to say your piece, it just might not be today.
- Always be positive about the other parent – When you say something nasty about the other parent, the children feel it to their core. It is their Dad/Mum that you are talking about.
- Avoid conflict – Develop strategies for communicating with the other parent which minimises conflict, be it email or a communications book. Let the other parent win sometimes – it won’t be the end of the world.
- Be the parent – Don’t let children make the decisions for you. This can become a major problem in high conflict families where children become adept at playing the parents off against one another. The phrase “But Dad/Mum lets me do it” should carry no weight in your household. Let older children express their wishes, listen to them, and where reasonable facilitate their wishes – but don’t be led by them.
- Discuss all major changes – With the other parent before they happen. All major long term decisions affecting the children should be discussed. Don’t decide to start a new life in another state without first consulting with the other parent. This is a point of conflict which regularly lands parents before the Courts in the most bitter of disputes. Remember, you have divorced your partner, but the kids have not divorced their parent.
- Don’t get stuck on how much time the children spend with you – Only the parents measure the time spent, the children live in the moment and only care about how much they are loved and the quality of the time they spend with you.
- Make use of the resources available to you – There are a variety of free or low cost services available for families, including counselling, mediation and parenting courses. Try calling Relationships Australia or the Family Relationships Centre.
- Reassurance – Don’t forget to tell your children how much you love them.
The contents of this article are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please seek appropriate legal advice before proceeding with any course of action.