Separation can be tough on everyone, not just the two people are who separating. Here are some ways you can make it easier and work on helping your kids through your separation.
Explaining the Separation to Your Kids
“It is not your fault” – Make sure you tell your children this, as children often blame themselves. Children also need to be told about the separation in a way that casts no blame on the other parent.
“It’s OK to be sad” – Let them know that it is okay to be sad, that you will find them someone to talk to and that they can always talk to you. Relationships Australia in Cairns have excellent programs for kids after separation. You must also let the school know, ask teachers to keep an eye out, and you can also arrange a counsellor.
Even if your child looks as if he or she is coping just fine, keep looking out for the warning signs. For younger children it might be bedwetting, becoming anxious when they separate from you, or aggression. Older children might become withdrawn or might start acting out.
Keep a Routine After Separation
Try and get a routine in place as soon as possible, one that is child focused and age appropriate. Children thrive on consistency, so try to keep the arrangements consistent and certain. Keeping a calendar on the fridge which marks out when the kids will see the other parent is a big help for them. Also remember that younger children (under school age) generally do not cope well with a shared care arrangement.
Encourage Your Kid’s Relationship with the Other Parent Through and After Separation
Encourage their relationship. It’s okay that they still love the other parent. You might not anymore, but chances are they do! Encourage their relationship with the other parent, particularly if you are the parent that the children spend the most time with, and remember that children will pick up on your body language and tone of voice even if you are saying the right things.
It is important to show your child that you are really pleased they are spending time with the other parent. Keep a brave face and when they are gone you can be upset.
Protect Them from Any Separation Conflict
Lastly, protect them from conflict. Children exposed to parental conflict are at risk of all sorts of problems later in life.