Few take the decision to separate or divorce lightly – especially as parents. But the fact is, over 50% of adult partnerships reach an end at some point. As a result, many more adults and children have to find a way to deal with the emotional impact of a family breakdown.

It’s easy for parents to become deeply engrossed in trying to sort out the legal and financial implications of their separation.

However while this is happening it is important to keep a positive and healthy parenting relationship with your children. Here are some top tips from Kids Come First, a community interest company, which delivers training and support to parents experiencing separation or divorce.

Talk about love

For children, love is a singular concept. They haven’t experienced adult relationships so they don’t understand the difference between adult love and parent love.

So if parents separate, it is easy to see how children can become confused – and worried – about love. If my parents have fallen out of love, could my parents also fall out of love with me? If one of my parents now loves someone new what does that mean? Is there only so much love to go around and will that take some of their love for me?

Make sure you talk about parental love and that it never runs out and it is unconditional.

Make time for fun

It can be a busy time for parents and it is easy to get engrossed in any financial or legal details. But children grow up quickly. Make time for special moments as this is their foundation in life.

Children can struggle with spending time with each parent individually. If they have siblings, it is not uncommon for them to not want to share you. If you can, make time for each child individually. This special time will be appreciated by your child.

Embrace the difference

If you can, try to agree some core values that will underpin your parenting. This might be manners, mealtimes or limits on screentime – whatever reflects your common values.

The rest can be flexible, allowing each of you to enjoy your time with your child, demonstrating your individual styles of parenting whilst still respecting each other’s skill set. Remember, difference is good and offers more opportunities for your child!

Embrace the difference

If you can, try to agree some core values that will underpin your parenting. This might be manners, mealtimes or limits on screentime – whatever reflects your common values.

The rest can be flexible, allowing each of you to enjoy your time with your child, demonstrating your individual styles of parenting whilst still respecting each other’s skill set. Remember, difference is good and offers more opportunities for your child!

This article was contributed by Nicola Withycombe at Kids Come First, which runs child-focused training programmes for separated parents in London and Surrey.

This article was contributed by Nicola Withycombe at Kids Come First, which runs child-focused training programmes for separated parents in London and Surrey.