How do I protect my children from our Family Law proceedings?
Going through a separation can be an awful experience, and often it’s not something we can sugar-coat. It’s even worse when you have kids as they didn’t ask for any of this and often don't understand what is happening.
So how do you protect your kids from the perils and pitfalls of separation? Here are some basic rules:
- Don’t act like everything is fine: Kids aren’t stupid. Even young children recognise when something has changed, and they’re a lot more perceptive than you give them credit for. Talk to them about the separation, ideally with your former partner, and explain that, although some things will change, you still love them and will both be completely available to them;
- Make sure they have appropriate support: Sometimes they will want to talk to someone who isn’t you, and that’s okay. Make sure that their school knows about any separation, and encourage them to speak to a neutral third party, like a school Chaplain or counsellor. Anglicare and Relationships Australia run some great group-counselling sessions for children where they get to meet up with other kids going through the same thing and get to talk about their own experiences;
- Make sure you have appropriate support: You can’t always be the hero, and to take care of your kids you need to take care of yourself – see a counsellor. If the first one doesn’t feel right, then find one that does. Different counsellors use different techniques, so find one that fits; Your child will also feel is it more acceptable to talk to a third party, if they see you doing the same.
- Be a role model: This is often the hardest part, but the most important by far. If you have children and you are going through a separation, every action taken in the presence of your children has consequences. We like to tell our clients that a relationship breakdown brings out the best and the worst in people, and that the way you act during a relationship breakdown will set the example of how your child or children will understand relationships for the rest of their lives – so again, think carefully about what you say in front of the children, and the type of relationship you want them to have with your ex spouse;
- Remember that it gets better: In the short to medium term, it can sometimes feel as though there is no way out. But pain fades over time and you will just be left with the good memories and its important to relish those with your children.
Contact us for more information on your child's rights.