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For Parents

Parenting after a Separation
by Stacey Clements

Separated, now what?

So youíve decided to end a relationship and there are children involved. While feeling angry, sad, and confused is hardly the time for clear-headed decision making. Whether your kids are at an age of understanding or not, be very careful with everything you say and do. Itís not just you separating from a partner. Your childís entire life has just been turned upside down. Quite possibly theyíre just as angry, sad, and confused as you are.

I love both of you.

Your child in the best of circumstances loves both of you equally. Your first instinct will be to trash talk your ex to your child/children. Donít. The temptation will be almost uncontrollable. This message confuses the child. Theyíre torn and even more confused.

Picture yourself trying to decide who the bad guy is between Mommy and Daddy. You need to reassure your child that you love them, Daddy loves them and that will never change. The child needs to hear that itís ok to love you both and that he or she will be taken care of no matter what.

I am not a trophy.

This little boy or girl is a flesh and blood human being with feelings all their own. You and your ex cannot play tug-of-war. Set aside whatever personal feelings you have and decide amicably the best of living arrangements for your child. The child is not a trophy. Ultimately, you want the best for your child. Even if the best place is not with you, be honest with yourself for your childrenís sake.

Honour the bond between parent and child.

The worst mistake you can make is to undermine the ties that bind parent and child. Yes, you love your baby. So does your ex. Your child loves you both. Respect and encourage the relationship between the child and the other parent. Remember special days; Momís and Dadís Days. Buy a card.

Children learn what they live. Letís teach them the right way as opposed to our way.