Some useful recommendations to help children’s adaptation

  • Be prepared to listen and to calm fears. The child needs to talk about the separation and you should convince them  that they can’t do anything to change the situation; children may need to talk more than once about this situation, so try to be patient and help them.
  • Share special time with your children. It is something both parents can do. Special time doesn’t mean giving presents or letting them to go bed late it means recognizing the needs of the children. It will make them want to talk, to feel comfortable and be part of a family routine.
  • Support the respect and love towards the other parent. It can be hard if they have hurt you, but children belong to both, no matter why the relationship ends. You are two parents and therefore you are still a “family” for them. Feelings like anger and grief towards the ex-partner can be more harmful to children than the separation. Your ex partner is also your child’s parent. Your child shouldn’t feel guilty for loving them.
  • Don’t let your children be part of conflicts; do as much as you can to avoid arguments so they don’t keep them in their memory. Children can’t help in an argument, keep them away from conflictive situations and don’t cause them to have to decide between one or the other.
  • Feeling guilty can affect your child’s education. Children need permanent control. Too much freedom or too much control can be very negative in their education. Children need to know their responsibilities and their limitations. There can be great confusion when adults give them opposite messages and let them do things they know are wrong. Children need leadership and at times figures of authority. Parents should know how to say no when necessary.
  • Let children be part of your future plans. This can be as easy as letting your child decide the colors of their new room. When they are older, they will be more capable of taking decisions on their life. Some decisions mustn’t be taken by a child such as whether they want to see a parent or not the next weekend. This is not fair on the child or the other parent and the child may end up feeling guilty about something that is natural.
  • Don´t ask your child about the other parent. Your children are loyal to both of you and don’t want to hurt you. You shouldn’t ask them about the life of your ex couple. If children talk about it voluntarily you have to accept it. A child can adopt a silent attitude if they feel that you are asking them about the other parent’s’ life.
  • Make changes slowly, some changes are hard to handle for children when these changes are too many or too fast. Let children take time to get used to the new situations caused by the separation.

In short, the way parents confront the separation can minimize or maximize the consequences for their children. The following chart shows positive and negative attitudes that can help or damage your children during the process of accepting the break up.

 

Negative attitudes
Positive attitudes
  1. Give them false hopes of reconciliation.
1. Calm children, they are not responsible for the separation.
  2. Involve the children in the adults’ conflict.
2. Maintain the role of adults and parents.
  3. Ask them to act as messengers or spies.
3. Let children express their feelings about the separation.
  4. Threaten your children with abandoning them.
4. Give stability and continuity to your children’s life..
  5. Make more changes than the necessary ones in your child’s life.
5. Calm your children telling them that they are safe and protected.
  6. Look for emotional support in your children.
6. Make them know that both parents love them.
  7. Make comments or underestimate your ex partner.
7. Find emotional support in other adults.

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