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5 Top Tips for Parents on Relationship Breakdown from the Kids...

Posted by Jess on 28/02/2016

I help support those going through potential relationship breakdown, separation and divorce also giving strategies to manage emotion and minimise stress to make proactive change as positively and constructively as possible.

One of the biggest concerns for parents I work with is the impact of relationship breakdown on their children, and how, what and when to communicate with them. I also know this from personal experience: I’m a mother of four children (and stepmother to another five) and we navigated through the choppy waters of divorce together a few years ago! 

I have had the privilege of also working with a group of inspiring children aged 10 to 17, hearing about and working through their experiences of divorce.  For some, it has been their first experience of speaking openly about what happened and how they feel about it.

Here are five top tips for parents from the kids:

1. Please explain and communicate what is going on

Even if you don’t know! But don't pretend or lie to us, or make promises you might not be able to keep. We want to understand, but don't want you to be mean about it, or totally blame the other parent. We want facts that we can understand about what went wrong.

2. Allow us to be open about how we feel
'Please let us talk openly about how we feel if we want to, without taking offence. We want to be heard not patronised - we want to be listened to and allowed to say we are angry or sad and why, not dismissed and told it will be ok, even if it will.' James, 16

3. Please don't expect us to pass on messages from one parent to another!
We don't want to be the go-between.

4. Please don't ask us to take sides

Remember when we are there, we don't want to hear you arguing or being mean or criticising each other.

5. Remember that we’re still a family

Even if we aren't all together any more, we will always be a family, and it would be nice to think one day we can all be friendly and do things together again.

Whilst one would never wish relationship breakdown or divorce on any child, there is huge potential for growth and learning... real strength through adversity. And when we talking to the kids about the learnings from this life experience and as said by my children too, the positives that came up are that they are more appreciative, more aware of other’s feelings, kinder, closer and more bonded as siblings, more driven and better communicators. From the mouths of babes... Oh, and from my son ‘I’m a bit like the Queen now, it’s great that I get two birthdays’ :-)


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