Parenting apart


Reaching agreement on how your children divide their time between you when you, their parents, live separately can be very difficult. So much depends on the age of the children, how geographically close you each live and the amount of goodwill and cooperation between the two of you.

What works well for one child may be very different from what works for another child. Equally, what works well for a five year old may not work for him/her when he/she is a teenager. 

One thing you can be certain of is that your children need you to keep your own feelings about the situation separate from their relationship with you and separate from their relationship with their other parent. They also need you, as their parents, to sort it out for them so that they can get on with being children. 

Children, whatever their ages, are keen to please their parents and will frequently tell them things that they think will please them or that they believe they will want to hear. Very often they will say one thing to one parent and the opposite to the other. This can give rise to much tension between separated parents as you each try to do what is best for the child based on the information you have.

Mediation gives separated parents the opportunity to talk together about their children and to discuss what they can do and how they can arrange things so that the child feels happy, secure and can enjoy their time with each parent. 

Sometimes separated parents are so keen to be fair to one another that they can overlook how the contact arrangements might be experienced by the child. Mediation helps parents to focus on their children’s changing needs and helps them to work together to find ways forward that enable the children to have a strong relationship with each of you as well as spend time with friends and pursue hobbies or interests.

Mediation can also help separated and separating parents to reach agreement on how to divide their finances and property. It helps the two of you to resolve things and be amicable so that you can move on with your lives, look to the future and focus on your children.

photo credit: Greens MPs via photopin cc

Jason Conway