"What About the Children?"

7 Tips for Parents – The Do's and Don'ts of Parenting During and After Separation

Written by Lorraine Martin

  1. Follow the advice in airplanes—put on your oxygen mask first then put on your child's. In other words, get support and help for yourself in order to be a calm and mature parent for your children. If you can't contain your emotions or manage your conflict with your ex, get some professional help...often just a little bit is needed.
  2. Tell your children together that you are separating or if you can't do that, at least agree on the story. Make it simple and do not blame anyone. Your children will never want to know the sordid details..."too much information!!!"
  3. Do not make your divorce the defining event of your children's childhood.
  4. Stay "tuned in" to your child and encourage them to ask questions, share what worries them, what they hate about the separation.
  5. Do not fight over "your time". Children resent it. It is their time and they aren't too worried about making a big deal over an hour or a day here or there. Remember it is not the quantity of time that matters, it is the quality of the relationship.
  6. Think ahead to the future. How do you want your children to describe how you handled the separation? Do you want them to respect your maturity and integrity? Then build a parental alliance that is respectful and courteous (no matter how you really feel!!)
  7. Respect your child's relationship with their father/mother.....it is not your relationship. Do not make them chose (even if you feel insecure!!!)
© 2011 Lorraine Martin

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Lorraine has recently retired from the position of Clinical Coordinator for the Office of the Children's Lawyer. She held that position for over 17 years. Upon her retirement, she received many accolades from the Bench and Bar. Her expertise and leadership in her field was acknowledged and recognized and she was honoured with the AFCC's Presidents Award at the annual AFCC Conference in Denver in June 2010.

Her previous experience included the management of Hamilton's Unified Family Court's Mediation Pilot Project and as the Director of the Family Conciliation Service (providing mediation and assessment services to the Court of Queen's Bench) in Manitoba.

In addition she has a strong background in marriage and family therapy, child abuse and children's mental health.

She is well known across Canada and the U. S. as a leader in the field of court services, separation and divorce and custody and access issues.