Deciding to separate or divorce is a difficult and personal choice. If you have children, then one of the first considerations is to help your children adjust from being a family under one roof to a family in two separate homes.
For separated parents, it is necessary to communicate about the children. If you’re feeling angry towards your ex, then try to find a way to distance yourself in the short term to allow a cooling off period, or choose a means of communication that isn’t face to face e.g. text message, or email. Perhaps ask a relative or a friend to read it first before you click ‘send’.
You can manage your relationship as parents in a better way by adopting an approach which is child-centred. Try considering the following:
- Avoid conversations that address old issues, personal information or encourage conflict. Separating your emotions from the situation or person can be challenging, and it takes time to treat the other person more as a co-parent and not as your partner or spouse.
- Speak to the other parent in a respectful manner and avoid personal attacks including statements that criticise or blame the other, however tempted you may be – remember that your children are 50% of the other parent.
- If you need more time to think things over, then say, sometimes your immediate reaction is not always the best response.
- Give the other parent notice that you wish to discuss something relating to the children or a delicate subject, for example, introducing a new partner.
- Avoid using handovers as a time to discuss issues with the other parent. I have written a blog for tips for an amicable handover here.
- Follow-up a discussion or agreement by email to avoid any misunderstandings later.
- Avoid having difficult conversations in front of the children.
- Address your own feelings with the help of a professional – this can help you be less reactive in stressful situations with your ex, and help you move on with your life.
Credit to Resolution’s helpful course ‘Early help for Parents’. Resolution is a group of family lawyers and solicitors, and as members are committed to taking conflict out of a family dispute.