How to have a happy family – even after separation!
Nardine Collier is an accredited Specialist in Family Law, a Family Law Mediator, and Director of Collier Family Lawyers and Cairns Mediations.
Even though the family unit is no longer, it is still possible to have a happy ‘family’ after separation ( it might even be a happier one!)
The key to a happy family, after separation is good CO-PARENTING. I also think these tips apply to any family because as any parent/carer reading this article knows, it’s hard enough to parent at times, separated or not. Here are the five “C”’s to good co-parenting, and any reference to ‘parent’ is of course referring to anyone in a carer role.
#1 – Conflict – getting rid of it
Children do not thrive after separation when parents are in constant battles with each other. A child who is caught up in the bitterness of their parent’s separation is at real risk of suffering psychological harm. I do believe good co-parenting does include conflict but it is how parents go about managing and resolving their conflict that is all important. I also believe it is good for children to know that Mum and Dad don’t always agree but they are able to discuss their differences of opinion in a good way. How is it possible to do this? See #2!
#2 – Co-operation – A business-like relationship
Try looking at your co-parenting arrangement like a business relationship. You know that you can be in business with someone you don’t particularly like. You and your business partner might not be friends but in a good business partnership chances are you treat each other civilly and with respect. You both have a common goal, making your business successful. Business partners will co-operate with each other for that common goal leaving aside their personal feelings for the other person.
For separated parents your common goal is the happiness, stability, and future well-being of your children. Parents who can put aside their hurt and anger, and co-operate for the benefit of their child, can create happy kids even after separation and will be much happier themselves.
#3 – Communication
This is really the key to any successful relationship – good communication. Separated parents will need to work this out. HOW they will communicate? Face to face probably isn’t the best option all the time, so will it be by phone or text or email? There are a lot of new apps out there these days helping parents with communication, such as “Talking Parents”. Also work out WHY you need to talk, for what reasons. What decisions should you discuss jointly and what do you agree you can each decide when the children are with you?
#4 – Consistent parenting
This applies to all families separated or not. Children do best when they have consistency. For together parents this is a united front. For separated parents this means similar rules in each household – as to TV time, social media, jobs, bedtime, and so on.
#5 – Consideration
Our wish for our clients here at Collier Family Law is that they can “Divorce with Dignity”. Separation is always a sad time but it doesn’t have to be soul destroying. It comes down to how parents choose to act and respond; whether they choose to act with consideration of each other, and mutual respect for each other’s role as parents. For a free no obligation chat about this article or any family law enquiry please contact the team at Collier Family Law.