Many parents who separate because they don't want to be in conflict anymore, usually find that they end up in more conflict over the children. If you are a separated parent reading this, try to focus on your own behaviour, how you can help ease the conflict and the impact on your child.
Why does the conflict arise?
Separated parents actually take some time to separate beyond the actual physical separation. Emotionally we sometimes stay attached, this can take a while to move on if you were the one that did not want the relationship to dissolve. It is worth thinking, 'am i struggling to detach after 6 -12 months', what is holding me back'?
Parents can feel out of control of their lives and over their ex partners lives. For some the battle can be about blaming one another. The children often will be used to exert power by stopping contact or threatening to take the child away. This is damaging to the child and your relationship with them. The children may be used by competing whose home is the best, who can buy them the most presents and so on. Unfortunately, there are no winners, the ones that loose out are the children. Children loose out by parents failing to consider the impact on a childs mental health and well being by being stuck between two parents who cannot put their own feelings aside to protect their child.
How might we start to stop letting the children get caught up in the middle?
Here are a few ideas to contemplate..................
Listen to your child, not only by what they say but how they behave. Do they seem happy? Are you having problems with their behaviour? They speak through non-verbal communications.
Do not use your child as a weapon, your child deserves to have two parents, unless you have issues that your child is at harm or risk with another parent, stopping contact is hurting your child.
Learning to communicate in a non aggressive but assertive tone and manner will reduce stress levels and help you stay in control of your emotions. Stop blaming one another for problems and start taking responsibility for your own actions.
Refrain from criticising the other parent in front of the child.
Children look up to us as role models, they copy and learn. They deserve to have a childhood without being expected to choose between parents. Ask yourself, are they caught up in the middle?
If the answer is yes, act now, find some support for you and your child.
If you are affected by the above and would like to learn more about how you or your child can get help visit my website. www.windmillsoftheminds.com
Sarah May Thorpe.