Parent Information Program Participant Package-Books Download

Parent Information Program Participant Package

2019 | 2 views | 46 Pages | 900.29 KB

Parent Information Program, November 2015 Page 6 of 46 The Effects of Separation on Children: Ages and Stages It is best for children if there is cooperation between parents. If cooperation is not possible, your goal should be to at least have no conflict, or to reduce any conflict between you and the other parent.

Introduction 3
How conflict affects families 4
How conflict affects children 4
The Effects of Separation on Children Ages and Stages 6
Children with Special Needs 9
Talking to children about a separation or divorce 10
Options for resolving a dispute 12
Negotiation 12
Going to court 13
Effective Communication 14
Don t share information about adult issues with your child 15
Using a business like communication style 15
Active listening 16
Closed Questions 17
Open Questions 18
Perception how we see and interpret things 19
Paraphrasing Summarizing 19
I Statements 21
Other communication skills 22
Anger 24
Putting it all together 25
Parenting arrangements 26
Child support 28
Worksheet What Would Life Be Like Without This Conflict 29
Worksheet Understanding Anger 30
Setting Boundaries 31
Worksheet Setting Personal Boundaries 35
Disengaging from a past relationship 36
When a child refuses to go for a visit 41
Extended Families 43
New Partner Issues 45
My notes 46
Parent Information Program November 2015 Page 2 of 46
While most children can adapt to their parents being apart ongoing conflict between parents can
negatively affect children s development and relationships including their ability to have good relationships
with others when they become adults
Intense or repeated stressful events during childhood can add up to be increasingly harmful to children
These experiences can leave emotional scars that could last a lifetime These stressful events can include
witnessing ongoing conflict between parents like overhearing arguments or name calling
being used as a pawn or go between in the parents relationship
being told a parent s complaints about the other parent
witnessing or overhearing violence or controlling behaviours between family members
Research shows that the more of these negative experiences children are exposed to or have to live with
the more likely they are to have mental health and relationship difficulties as they get older But it s never
too late to make changes
Your challenge is to build a cooperative relationship with each other as parents different than your former
relationship as partners It s important to get support as you sort through your feelings
Learning to manage your emotions will put you in a better position to talk to the other parent Try to find
positive constructive support Relying on friends and family is sometimes unhelpful if they only encourage
your negative feelings about the other parent and don t help you find new ways of looking at your situation
Talking to a neutral person like a counselor can sometimes help
As you move through this Program ask yourself these questions
1 What kind of parent do I want to be
2 How do I want my children to think of me
3 How do I want my children to remember our separation
Complete the What Would Life Be Like Without This Conflict worksheet to get a better idea about how
conflict may be affecting you and your children
Not all children who have been exposed to conflict will suffer negative effects if adults recognize the danger
and take steps to protect their children Children can be shielded from conflict and YOU are the most
important protection your child has
Children are protected most when parents and other adults in their lives
listen to and pay attention to them and provide consistent support and encouragement
keep conflict away from children s eyes and ears
continue to actively parent by being aware of and involved in what is going on in their children s
surround the children with positive caring family and friends
support and encourage the children s relationships with their other parent
Parent Information Program November 2015 Page 3 of 46
help children cope with the changes in their lives caused by their parents separation
Children need to be protected from the unhealthy stress of conflict It is best if both parents help to protect
the child from conflict and stress but it only takes one parent to have a positive effect
How conflict affects families
Conflict means a disagreement or argument usually one that goes on for a while Conflict takes a toll on
every member of the family Parents who are in conflict with each other may
spend a lot of energy every day dealing with the conflict
spend time away from their family friends and favourite activities to deal with the conflict
feel like efforts to reduce the conflict have no effect
repeat the same arguments over and over
try to avoid contacting or talking to the other parent
go to court to resolve conflicts only to have the same conflicts continue or new ones develop
spend more money on lawyers court filing fees and strategies to enforce court orders
lose income from missing work to deal with the conflict
feel emotionally drained and physically exhausted
feel a strain in their relationship with the child and their family s relationship with the child
because of the conflict
How conflict affects children
Children can easily feel stuck in the middle of conflict between their parents Some of the ways this
happens is when the child
is told the other parent is to blame for the separation
is told details of the separation or what is going on in court
is shown the details of court documents like affidavits
is told about a parent s refusal to pay child support or that they pay late or less than required
gets pumped for information about the other parent
is asked to make decisions about important issues like visiting time with their other parent or
hears negative things said about one of their parents from the other parent
sees or hears arguments or fights between their parents
gets presents and other rewards to try to win their loyalty and affection
is sent to or returned from visits dirty hungry or thirsty
is relied on to give emotional support to a parent
sees a parent rolling their eyes or making faces when the other parent calls
Parent Information Program November 2015 Page 4 of 46
Some of the things that children may do in reaction to experiencing conflict between their parents include
playing one parent against the other
trying to take on adult responsibilities around the house
trying to provide adult emotional support to a parent
telling parents what they want to hear even when it s not true or is the opposite of what the child
has told the other parent
All of these reactions can have long term consequences on children s mental health However this last
point is very important for parents to understand particularly when they take steps in court based on what
the child has told them because this behaviour is common For example a child might tell each parent that
they want to live with them The child might be saying this
to avoid hurting a parent s feelings
to make the parent feel better
because it s easier than telling the truth
because it helps avoid an argument
to obtain the parent s approval
When children live in fear and worry which is what happens when there is ongoing conflict between their
parents the stress affects how their brains develop A child may begin to interpret interactions with other
people as if each one could blow up into a conflict situation like the kind of conflict the child experiences at
home As this type of response becomes routine your child may find it increasingly difficult to trust people
and be close to others
Over time negative unhealthy stress harms the brain It can affect the brain s basic structure and lead to
learning delays anxiety addictions memory problems and other health problems Since brains continue to
develop until a person is in his or her twenties even older children can be affected by the unhealthy stress
caused by their parents conflict
Parent Information Program November 2015 Page 5 of 46

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