How to involve children in decisions during divorce and separation

If you have negotiated a plan for the year or a period of time add the dates to a calendar for your children. If children feel they have contributed to the plan or know where they will be at a particular time, they will hopefully feel more at ease during the transition stages from one home to the other.

Involve older children in the decision-making whenever possible. You may need to try and work out ground rules with your ex over the bigger issues such as leaving older children unattended. If you can talk to your ex try to keep them up to date on issues your teenager might not have mentioned such as exam revision, so they can encourage them to study when they come to stay.

Be prepared to review and change arrangements and to discuss these with your children as they grow older. Younger children may need frequent short visits, whereas teenagers may prefer to spend weekends with friends but have regular email or telephone contact and holidays with the non-resident parent.

Look out for any changes in your child. Are they more moody or withdrawn than usual? If so it may be due to the changes. Find a quiet time and ask them how they are. Tell them you know it is different and strange. Allowing them to be part of decision-making may help with these feelings.

Groups and workshops give you the opportunity to share your experiences with other parents and to get some fresh ideas on how to help you and your children make the most of life. Contact your local Children's Centre, or see our Parent Portal for information on how to find groups near you.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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