Separation and divorce through the eyes of a child

“It’s almost like when something you love breaks and you can’t get it back together.”

This is a quote by one of the children who participated in a short film called “Split: Divorce through Kids’ Eyes”. It was part of a 2-day course that I attended to learn how to help parents with separation find child-focused solutions. It was an honor to have the opportunity to attend the skills training. It allowed me to focus on the children at the center of many of the cases that I work with and also gave me the chance to learn how to help parents best support their children.

Christina McGhee, the author of Parenting Apart, led the training. She is also the founder of the Parenting Apart program which teaches separated parents how to raise secure and happy children. Christina McGhee gives parents very important and clear messages. While you cannot remove all the pain caused by a divorce, you can make it even worse. She warns parents against fighting fire with fire and says that this will cause irreparable damage to their relationships with their children. Her powerful messages are hard to ignore.

The film was entirely made by children, with no adult intervention. It was very moving. It gave insight into the emotional repercussions of living in two families.

It was evident how important it was for parents to ensure that their children get all the love and support they need. One child stated that she had been to counseling and was told “Your only job is being a kid.” It was obvious how much she felt relieved to hear this, but parents need to inform their children in an age-appropriate manner.

This film made me reflect on the many children for whom I was responsible during my career. The family law lawyers surrey bc must ensure the best interests of children are at the center of any decisions they make about them. My clients sometimes need to remind me that their children need both the love and attention from their parents. Sometimes it is hard work, but clients appreciate that I helped them avoid causing unnecessary stress.

Christina McGhee suggested that parents think of their role in the care of the children as a partnership. Sometimes you have to work with people you do not like but don’t let your emotions get in the way. One participant said that “The children are on a ship in the storm and the parents must work together to bring the ship safely to port”.

Empathy is a key skill for family lawyers. We need to understand the emotions of our clients and recognize how difficult it can be for them to live with such uncertainty and emotional turmoil. I gained a greater understanding of the challenges involved in parenting after divorce and the huge impact parents’ actions can have on their children.

These are some strategies that children claimed helped them:

1. It was a great way to help them not miss their parent by saying goodnight and good morning to the parent they weren’t staying with.

2. Write down the details and, if not, tear them up and throw them away

3. Meditation is a way to forget about the world around you and focus on a happier place.

4. Talking to schoolchildren who have had similar experiences.

Parents can help with these things:

1. Refrain from saying unkind words about another parent. It could make your child feel hurt, confused, and conflicted.

2. You can anticipate the concerns of your children and address them. For example, if they need to see both parents at school events, they don’t have to worry about which one will approach first.

3. Recognize that they are sad. It is okay to be upset.

4. Let them know they are capable of overcoming any obstacle.

5. Get the support that you need to get through this. Children will be able to cope better if they’re coping well.

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