Going through a separation can be a complex journey, and it can be impossible to predict how this decision is going to impact your child. Regardless of their age, children are very intuitive to change and unrest, and so it is important that you are checking in with them and making them understand they are still loved and supported despite the new arrangements. If you are or are about to go through a separation, here are some ways you can actively support your child and ensure that this transition has minimal impact.

Keep Your Legal And Familial Positions Separate

This advice is easier said than done, but you want to keep your conversations and proceedings with your Melbourne family lawyers far from the dinner table. Not only will this legal jargon confuse your child, but it might be taken out of context and create more unease. Commit to upholding your core role as caregivers and leave the messier discussions for the right time and place. Be sure to make sure that your ex-partner is on the same page, as you don’t want one party to be fueling any tension due to their dissatisfaction with the legal process.

Seek Counselling And Support Services

Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook, especially when it comes to handling these more complex issues. This is why seeking a counsellor or various support services can be a great way to cover your bases and give your child the opportunity to discuss their feelings and be reassured or managed by a professional. Seeing a counsellor, at any age, can be a fantastic way to refocus and look at any issue from another perspective, and you can choose whether to attend appointments with them or have them go on their own.

Work With Your Ex-Partner

Presenting as a united front with your ex-partner is going to make your child feel like not much is changing, and that this separation is the best way forward for the family. Try your best to keep things civil for your child, even if that means only communicating to coordinate pick-ups and important information. Children are very vulnerable so you want to avoid speaking badly about one another and have your family follow the same example so as not to confuse and upset your child. This change is a big one, but if it is sour then it will be even more painful for your child. If there are any birthdays or milestones that unfold in this separation period, together make this a memorable event, despite what’s going on.

Try For Consistency

When we bring home a newborn, we are told that routine and consistency is key. Very little changes as our children grow up, as they thrive with consistency as it allows them to focus on their learning, recreation and social activities. When going through a separation, it is important that you try and honour all existing commitments for your child, whether it be sports, social events and even seeing extended family. This will probably require some extra effort from both you and your partner so don’t let their routine fall through the crack during your separation. You may also choose to have your child remain at the house they have grown up in until you have finalised your custody plan, so weigh up your options.

Be Honest About The Future

Besides keeping legal talk from your child, you will need to have some discussion about your decision and plan to separate from your partner. It might be valuable to do this together as a family unit so you can both field questions, but choose whichever format is going to be the path of least resistance. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to broach this with your child, there are many resources you can use to help or you may even choose to do this with your counsellor facilitating the discussion.

Going through a separation is no easy event, especially when you are also responsible for the well-being of your child and how they are dealing with this change. Don’t be afraid to ask for support and talk to your child about how they are feeling frequently.