What Children Say They Need or Appreciate When Parents Separate

Children say they need or appreciate the following when their parents separate:

  • Being kept informed by both parents about what is happening
  • Being reassured that it is ‘not their fault’ that mum/dad left home
  • Being reminded that both parents love them
  • Knowing where both parents are
  • Knowing about the plans for them to see both parents (see parenting plans)
  • Visits being frequent and regular
  • Parents not fighting about them and/or in front of them
  • Being allowed to be sad when they leave/say good bye to one or other parent
  • Being able to talk on the phone in private to either parent when needed
  • Being able to talk about one parent to the other
  • Not being asked to keep secrets
  • New partners being introduced sensitively
  • Not having to share mum or dad with a new partner and /or other children for all of the time they spend with them/not having to make too many changes all at once, not having to choose between their parents
  • Being able to continue to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.
  • Not having their normal key events or special occasions marginalised because of parents’ desire for ‘equal’ time-split
  • In sibling situations not always being ‘packaged’ together
  • Not having to parent their parents
  • Wanting time for discussions and attention of parents rather than just ‘activities’

As adapted by Adrian Wright from Monica Cockett’s : Devon Family Mediation Agency