We have recently been doing a series of blogs focusing on how you can minimise the effects of your separation on your children. Tip number 5 was to review the arrangements that you have made. We suggest that you check in with each other regularly (say every 3 to 6 months depending on how long you think the arrangements need to run before you know if they’re working or not). You can then talk about what you think is working well and what you think isn’t working so well. If you can do this face to face at a neutral venue then that often means there is less scope for misunderstandings that come with discussions by email or text.
Aside from checking in with each other about how the arrangements you’ve put in place are working it can also be helpful to review the arrangements you have if there are any big changes. This might include a change in working patterns for either parent, a change of school for a child, a new club being introduced for your child or children, or any other significant events.
If your children are older then talk to your children about what they think is working and any issues that they feel are cropping up. It’s really important you do this in a non-blaming, not scoring points way. Be curious about what things are like from their side. You may be surprised by what they are fine with and what they find difficult. Be compassionate too. Any gripes may not feel that significant to you but in a child’s life little things can seem very important when facing a significant life change like your parents’ separating.
If you feel that you need to make changes then make these and agree to review again within an agreed timescale and then go through the process again. If you find that you are struggling with managing the routine then also consider whether there is a way to make things more manageable for both of you – either by simplifying the arrangements, by using an online tool like Our Family Wizard. Or if it is the relationship between the two of you that’s making it difficult consider whether some support from an expert like a mediator, or family consultant or family therapist might help you to manage your arrangements in a more helpful and positive way.
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