Relate: Five things to help parent–child relationships weather a separations storm

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 June 2014

Picture: PA/Edmond Terakopian

Picture: PA/Edmond Terakopian

PA Wire/Press Association Images

As 1 in 3 couples decide to separate, an estimated 33,000 children are seeing their families split. But with forethought and by following some simple tips, it doesn’t have to be the end of their world.

Divorce and separation change your children’s world forever and can affect the way they view relationships for the rest of their lives. Major changes at home often mean they lose a full time parent. It can seem devastating.

But children will survive divorce. They may struggle and stumble sometimes, just as you do, but as a parent you can shield them from adult conflict, and move forward with them to find a new way of living your family life.

Paula Hall, Senior Counsellor at Relate, has drawn up a list of five things to help parent–child relationships weather the separations storm:

1) Be hopeful and optimistic when talking to the children, and encourage them to express their feelings to both their parents.

2) Parents need to communicate with each other over issues such as finances and new relationships. Ensure children are not stuck in the middle.

3) The day that one parent leaves home will be a day the whole family remembers for a long time. Prepare everyone in advance and be clear about what is going to happen.

4) Children cope best with divorce when they have regular contact with both parents. This includes phone, email and text as well as face to face time.

5) Children need to know it is fine to enjoy time with the other parent. However hard it is, keep a smile on your face as you hand them over and reassure them you will be ok.

At Relate Medway North Kent we can help parents make separation as painless as possible for the children. To see a trained Relate Counsellor call 01634 380038 or email And to see all the services we offer go to our website

Do you have any tips on how to keep a separation smooth for the children? Email and we will publish a selection next month.

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