Children need to be protected from ongoing conflict particularly when it is intense, personal, abusive and /or focused on them. Children learn by watching and can detect aggression and disrespect from looks, gestures, and silence not just words and tone of voice.
Being mindful of where, when and how you communicate or respond to each other is key. Taking the time to learn about the impact of parental conflict and techniques for managing stress and disagreements will pay dividends. It will increase your peace of mind, reduce the impact of separation on you and your children and teach them how to deal with their own conflicts.
Mediation has been shown to be effective in resolving both practical and communication issues between parents, and studies show that parents who reach agreement in mediation are more able to co-operate and resolve disagreements in the longer term, than parents who only used the Courts.
Child Inclusive Mediation where appropriate, can give children a voice about the things that matter to them and help parents to a clearer understanding of how the world looks to their children. Knowing how your children feel can help strengthen the resolve of parents to make things better.
Longer term support such as Parenting Coordination or parent mentoring schemes can help parents who have had difficulties communicating, to overcome conflict habits and rebuild their parenting alliance.
Sorting out family finances in a timely way and ensuring, as much as you can, that sufficient funds are available to meet the children’s needs will help reduce the impact of separation. It is also important to encourage children to develop their own healthy financial attitudes and expectations, by demonstrating that both parents can prioritise needs over wants. Financial Mediation can help.
Attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is a good way to talk confidentially about issues that need resolving and to consider your options for dealing with them and finding information and any other resources that might help.
Investing in your children’s happiness by attending Courses for separating parents has been shown to help, as the best ones contain information about the child’s point of view and a range of conflict and change management techniques, as well as how to avoid behaviours which don’t prioritise the children’s needs. Around 9 -20 hours training is thought to be most beneficial.
Reading good quality information can also help, particularly if used in combination with positive support and encouragement from others, however, anyone can make a website or publish a theory, so it pays to check that information is reliable and well researched.
Consulting experienced family Legal Professionals for information and advice can clear up many myths and over-simplifications on parents’ rights that can fuel conflict.
Caring for your own physical and emotional health and seeking support to process feelings, helps reduce the risk of exposing children to raw emotions.
Taking time away from the pressures of parenting and work, helps both parents restore their energy, reduce resentment and improves communication within the family.
Protecting children from domestic abuse or violence is critical if they are to thrive. Exposure to domestic abuse raises complex issues for children and dilemmas for parents. The effects of trauma can be long-lasting for parents and children and it is sensible to seek Specialist Help if you have suffered from or been accused of domestic violence or abuse. Reaching out for help can feel scary, but it shows you have the ability to put your children first and know how important it is to protect them.
In the Resources pages on this website, you’ll find more information on sources of help for parents and children.
Reducing Conflict with the other parent is the most important thing parents can do for their kids