If you are separating you will be worried about your children, especially if they are still young. You have probably done some Googling by now, and if you have, it is most likely that you have read some research that makes you uncomfortable, or downright worried. Over the years, a lot of research has been reported about the risks of divorce for the well-being of children. There are reports of poorer educational and health outcomes, including mental health outcomes, for the children of separation. Like all parents, you will not want to think those things will happen to your children.

You probably  have friends or relatives who have been directly affected by divorce, and you might have heard some horror stories from those people. There are bad stories about poverty after separation, about having to pay ‘too much’ child support, about parents not getting to see their kids as much as they would like, or as much as they think is ‘fair’. There are stories about every hand over, or every school holiday, Christmas or birthday being a nightmare of conflict to negotiate.

What you have read and heard is all too true and too common, but it is not inevitable.

It is well known that conflict, lack of financial support and disconnection from a parent or extended family are risks for children whose parents separate. These are almost always things that you can positively influence, but it takes both parents to make that happen.

The research that is not as well publicised, says that how well your children will do is about how you separate, not if you separate.

So, the difference between all those other children and your children is going to be you, and your spouse.

In divorce, you both need to make the decision to get expert advice, so that your children are not like those other children.

Who do we talk to about the kids?

Strange as it might seem to you, most people go to a lawyer for initial advice about parenting arrangements. If you think that is odd, knowing  that lawyers study law, and child psychologists study parenting and child psychology, you are most of the way there.

Most separating parents can do with some help to know what they should do and what they should not do before and after separation. It is ideal if you and your spouse consult the same professional adviser for parent education.

The first person for you both to see is a child specialist psychologist or counsellor, who can help you to understand what your children are likely to need, if their reactions to your separation are ‘normal’, and how to make sure you and your spouse are sharing the same approach.  There are many ways a child specialist can help your whole family, but here are some of the most important ways you can be helped.

5 Ways a Child Specialist can help your kids to do well after separation:

  • by working with you to reach agreements about your co-parenting arrangements;
  • by helping you to separate your parenting from negative feelings about your partner;
  • by giving you information about what your children need at different ages;
  • by helping you to remember that the aim of the game is to make sure that your children have a healthy relationship with both of you; that’s what they need the most;
  •  by working with your young adult children who need support and reassurance too.

If you would like to learn more about working with a child specialist, call me on 9078 6980 or email me on marguerite@melca.com.au.