The way parents handle a separation can have a huge impact on how well their children cope with it.
Research has shown that children from families where parents are involved a high conflict separation are at greater risk of developing emotional, social and behavioural problems.
Parental conflict has a negative impact on a child’s adjustment and sense of safety at a time when they are already experiencing significant changes and disruption as a result of the break up of their family.
Children who have experienced separation and divorce in their family unit are more likely to have behavioural and academic problems at school compared with children from other families.
Resolving parental conflict is vital to helping children adjust to the dynamics of their new family situation. Children who find themselves in the middle of a battle between their parents are likely to experience stress, anxiety and anger of their own, and are usually lacking the maturity and tools to manage those emotions.
Low parental conflict and cooperative parenting post-separation have been shown to have a significant impact on children’s positive adjustment to family breakdown.
Helping children to manage changes and transitions and providing children with an environment in which they feel both physically and psychologically safe with both parents is critical to their wellbeing and development.
Parents who are able to work respectfully to negotiate and facilitate parenting and other arrangements post separation, help their children adjust to the disruption and changes in family structure resulting from a family breakdown.
There is a range of services available to help parents and children negotiate the family breakup minefield. Many of these services are free of charge and can provide support for both parents and children during what is an emotionally difficult process for everyone involved.