Rosanne Cubitt, our Head of Professional Practice (Mediation) reflects on over a decade of experience as a family mediator. She’s worked with parents across Scotland dealing with the process of separation and divorce.
I often say to parents that there are better and worse ways of splitting up – my job is to help them find a better way, one that puts their children at the centre of their decision making and helps them to move forward. I like to think of the three C’s of parenting when living apart: Conflict, Contact and Communication.
Conflict is the big issue for kids – what matters is the arguments and being caught in the middle of warring parties, and it is not so important about who lives where and how much time they spend with each parent.
Contact with both parents is generally good for kids, wherever safe and possible. Time spent together can be face to face, during the day or overnights, and it can also be about speaking on the phone, by video call or writing to each other.
Communication is the key – and this is a big ask for parents who have split up, often because communication is an issue. There are simple steps you can take to improve how you discuss issues with the other parent. The ideal is to move towards parenting ‘co-operatively’.
There is lots of helpful information about parenting when living apart here: http://www.relationships-scotland.org.uk/family-support/parenting-apart-groups
Remember the most important C is CHILDREN and they need to be the focus.