Parenting amicably during a separation is challenging but is of crucial importance to maintaining good relationships, both between ex-partners and between parents and children.
Positive parenting encourages and depends upon ongoing amicable dealings between the parents. This provides children with stability and security and allows for close relationships with both parents.
Trying to negotiate parenting arrangements after a relationship breakup can be challenging. It is almost invariably difficult for parties to a broken relationship to communicate positively.
In spite of the issues that may have arisen, it will be necessary for both parties to move on from the pain and/or ill feeling that have underscored the breakdown. It is important to create a positive environment for the children, in the context of collections and drop-offs and during shared decision-making.
Regardless of whether in person, by telephone or through electronic communications this will need to be approached maturely and with a view to resolution, not conflict. Peaceful and effective communications between ex-partners will have the most positive influence on the children’s wellbeing during this time.
Image by Jake Stimpson CC – BY – NC – 2.0
Resources for Parents
- Survival Plan for Parents in the Divorce and Separation Process: This publication from the Law Society of Ireland (2003) seeks to advise parents who are going through the separation or divorce process. It provides information from a child’s perspective as well as an insight into mediation, solicitor-client consultations and the court application process. In addition it supplies some recommended reading and relevant support service contacts details.
- Parenting Positively – Coping with Separation for Children aged 6-12: This Barnardos and Family Support Agency Publication (2007) is one of two related publications. It is designed for parents to aid in their understanding of their child’s needs and how their child might be feeling during this time. Support service contact phone numbers and further reading are also included.
- Parenting Positively – Coping with Separation for Children aged 6-12: This Barnardos and Family Support Agency Publication (2007) is the second document and it is intended to be read with children. It contains both text and illustrations to assist in the explanation of the meaning and process of separation and prompts an understanding of the impact of such circumstances upon a child. It deals with how your child might be feeling and provides advice as to means of assisting children to cope with the circumstances.
- Parenting Positively – Helping Teenagers to cope with Separation: This Barnardos and Family Support Agency Publication (2009) deals with the development stages of teenagers and outlines how separation may impact them. How to communicate with teenagers and with each other as parents is also dealt with. Telephone numbers for helpful resources and recommended reading are also included.
- Positive Pointers for Lone Parents who are helping their children understand their situation: This publication from Treoir (National Federation for Unmarried Parents and their children) (2008) is 100 pages long and addresses the issues arising where the parents in a family are living apart; considering how parents might best approach talking about the situation to their children, shared parenting, new families and resolving disputes.
- Charter for Children of Separated or Divorced Parents: This charter by Rainbows lists a number of ‘rights’ that the participants of the Rainbow Service ask to have respected. These rights are some of the things that children can experience when living with separated parents and it is a useful document that encourages reflection.
Resources for Children
- Rainbows: is a nationwide listening service for children who are dealing with significant loss or change in their lives. It is run in centres and in primary and secondary schools.
- Barnardos: Support, advice and information for teens.
- Teen Between: Free counselling service for 12-18 yrs old dealing with their parent’s separation or divorce.
One Family is Ireland’s national organisation for one parent families. It is a very active organisation with comprehensive information online, a telephone helpline for parents and training courses for parents.
- Address: Cherish House, 2 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2
- Helpline: Lo-call 1890 66 22 12 Tel: 01 6629212
- Website: www.onefamily.ie
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Child & Family Agency – Tusla
Tulsa has a comprehensive section on all aspects of Parenting Information including information on how to parent when separated.