Parenting after seperation

When a couple decide to separate, it often becomes a game of who can hurt the other one the most.  It doesn’t start out that way intentionally, however it comes about because rather than move through the hurt and grief and seek professional help, most people will bottle it up and build up a resentment to their ex-partner and begin the blame game of whose fault it was.  This resentment and hurt can become overpowering and can overshadow the fact that despite your hurt and grief, you are still parents to a child or children of the relationship and their needs are vitally important at this time.

Conflict in familyAs adults we face confusion, hurt, anger etc and we are the ones who have made the decision to separate.  Imagine it now from a child’s perspective; they have not had the pre-warning of two people who have discussed separation,they don’t understand why the family is no longer together and they do not understand how to process their own grief and emotions.  Add to that the fact that their parents no longer live together and appear to in fact, hate each other, and you have one very potent cocktail of anger and hurt taking its toll on a growing mind and a broken heart.

Despite our own feelings and regardless of the reasons for separation, it is vital that the two adults actually behave like adults and put the needs of their child/children first and foremost by planning how they will parent after the separation.  If the situation is extremely tense or volatile then this planning should be done via a counsellor or mediator so that an impartial party can keep the negotiations calm and focused on the best outcome for the children.

Working out how you will raise the children with the same parenting outlook instead of opposing parenting outlooks (usually just because it annoys or hurts the other adult), is vital to the ongoing well-being of the children. Not only will the child/children feel loved by both parents, they will also not feel like they are the meat in the sandwich between the two people they love the most in the world.  They can then process their own grief knowing that no matter what, they have the love of their parents without any anger or animosity.

As parents and as adults, we have the moral obligation to get this right for the sakes of our children and their futures. When we put aside all the negativity and hurt and focus solely on the children and what is best for them, we become better able to see the separation for what it is and work through our own grief and anger instead of letting it interfere with the raising of young, impressionable children.  The way you model your separation will be what remains with your child as they grow and become adults in their own relationships.  A child that has been shown that two people can actually work through issues without hurting each other, is a child that learns tolerance and understanding of what others need and how best to create situations that benefit everyone.

If you would like to work through any relationship issues or plan for parenting after separation please contact me to arrange a couples therapy session to provide you with the necessary tools to make parenting after separation a much easier task.