When you split from a partner and children aren’t involved, you don’t have to see each other. This allows time to heal and process the split. Separated parents don’t have that ‘luxury’. Their children need them both and parents need to share information and make child arrangements. That’s difficult when it’s painful to see or speak to your co-parent. Separated parents need to transition from exes to co-parents ASAP. However, conflict and hurt are bubbling under the surface and can easily spill out. We know that its not parents separating that harms children, but prolonged conflict or failure to co-parent.
Focus Mediation Blog 31072019
So, what’s the answer?
New boundaries need to be established quickly. Respectful communication is a solid start. This might mean talking to each other like ‘polite strangers’ for a while. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk; on the one hand you probably don’t want your ex to come to your door, but on the other it can be very upsetting for children at hand overs if their parents won’t talk to each other or argue. Exes won’t agree on the past and so must agree to disagree so that they don’t become embroiled in circular arguments. Family mediation is a valuable process for parents. The mediator is impartial and won’t take sides. They create a safe space for difficult discussions to take place and they enable both to be heard and to clear up misunderstandings. They can help to establish new boundaries. They encourage parents to focus on the future and not the past. However, when issues keep cropping up and won’t go away, they will enable them to try and find closure.
Separated parents with good relationships
When I speak to parents who have good co-parenting relationships and ask how they have managed to remain amicable, they usually tell me it wasn’t always that way and it took time and considerable effort. They both needed time to grieve for the loss of the family unit and to adjust to the changes that often lead to financial constraints. Trust must be built and acts as the foundation stones for a strong co-parenting relationship. It can be helpful to think about the future. What will your children thank you for doing to build a strong co-parenting relationship? Remember that parenting doesn’t end at 18. There will be special events such as graduations, birthdays and weddings to attend
together. What can you do now to ensure your children don’t have to be anxious about their parents being in the same room?
Co-Parenting Apps can be a very useful and create a safe space to co-parent. You can share info about the children, a calendar and deal with parenting expenses. Many are court approved. It’s a resource that can enable you to communicate in a way that feels helpful and unobtrusive. It is clearly child focused and helps ensure discussions remain about the children and not past issues from your relationship. Some popular apps include www.ourfamilywizard.co.uk and www.2houses.com . Shop around and find an app that best suits your family.
Author: Sara Stoner, Family Mediator, Broxbourne & Potters Bar
Call us on 01908 231132 or Email: info@focus-mediation.co.uk for further information or to book a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) (11 Locations: Milton Keynes, Bedford, Broxbourne, Hemel Hempstead, London, Northampton, Oxford, Potters Bar, St Albans, Harrow and Watford).
Read more about family mediation at:  www.focus-mediation.co.uk