Getting over a separation is never easy but if, in addition, it is a separation with children in between, things start to get complicated. Sometimes it can seem that the family enters a spiral or a vicious circle that seems to have no end.
Divorce does not only mean breaking up the couple, but also starting to negotiate as parents what is best for the children. When a separation occurs, problems or pathologies do not always appear, but if the break-up is not managed correctly, this can end up being one of the causes of its emergence.
A few years ago, separating from your partner was almost unthinkable, but nowadays it is an increasingly frequent process. Approximately 50% of couples split up. And, with the increase in separations, the types of families or family profiles affected by them also increase.
Therefore, we are going to try to give some guidelines on how to survive a separation with children depending on the type of family or family profile according to the origin of the children (if they are from the current or previous partners). We are going to talk specifically about 3 types of scenarios:
- When the children come from the couple
- When the children belong to one of the members of the couple
- When there’ s children of previous couples on both sides
1. When the children come from the couple
There are words that you have probably never thought of: child custody, alimony, divorce by mutual agreement… These are issues that are worth thinking about, the fact that, as a marriage or couple, a break-up has taken place does not mean that as parents there is such a separation. When children are involved, communication between parents will be necessary.
It’s normal that at first we get angry and get into the game of “you more”. Any little detail can become a pitched battle. It is worth trying to see the situation from a distance and not let emotions take over.
If we have problems in this aspect it is usually convenient to contact a professional who can mediate between both parties and help in the negotiation. It should be borne in mind that there will always have to be communication between parents and it is better to lay the foundations of this new form of relationship right from the start.
A mutually agreed separation with children will always be in the best interest of all family members (except in cases of violence, neglect or similar). As for child custody in the event of divorce, although some contact between both parents will always be required, joint custody might not be the best option. Factors such as workload and schedule, the objective time that can be devoted to the children must be taken into account… The well-being of the children must always be considered above everything else.
2.When the children belong to one of the members of the couple
In this case, the children have most likely gone through a previous separation. Children of separated parents do not have to be used to the process. Changes are always complicated and having gone through the separation process before does not make it any easier.
The main thing, in this case, is not to cut off the relationship altogether with the partner who is not the parent of the children. The children may have established a certain bond or affection with this third person and it is advisable to distance the relationship little by little. The age of the children is an important factor to take into account when separating. In the case that the children are teenagers, they can take the decision of if they want to continue maintaining the relationship with this person or not. In contrast, young children will have to abide by their parent’s decision regardless of their feelings. It is helpful to be able to talk openly with them about these issues so that they can understand why this decision to separate again is made.
3. When there are children of previous partners on both sides
In this third case we are talking about facing a separation in reconstituted families or patchwork. It is a comparison with the patchwork sewing technique, which involves gathering remnants (of other work) and joining them to form a new piece. Something similar to what happens when a couple with children separates and another “new” family is formed. The different members of each family (the patches), have to be unstitched and put together again in another type of garment.
As in the previous case, the separated parents with children, go through a second (or third) separation again. If overcoming a separation with children is already complicated, this time more people come into play and, therefore, more remnants than to unsew and sew again. When so many ” patches ” appear, the thread may not always be as tight or it may even break and become a useful piece again, it may become a real bobbin lace. The rights of parents and the custody of minors are some issues that, in many occasions, can damage the relationship that children from both sides could have with each other and, therefore, the final work.
Communication among all family members is essential in order to produce the least possible damage to the relationships that have arisen between the children. And that separation with children should be as peaceful as possible. In other words, unstitch as carefully as possible so as not to damage or scratch the patches and sew again so that, little by little, you have a new piece ready for use.
There’s no magic formula as to how to get over a separation when there are children involved. But one thing is certain: even if the relationship does not continue, parenthood will continue and communication between the parents will be necessary. As we have seen, there is no separation like any other, but the process can be easier if:
- There’s time to think about all the people involved (the kind of family it is).
- There is a good dialogue between the parents.
- Relationships are not suddenly cut.
- A professional is asked to help mediate between the parties involved.
Surviving a separation with children is never easy as there are many people involved. There are psychologists specialized in family and family mediation. Therefore, to go to a professional who mediates between both parts and looks for the best benefit for all the members of the family within what is possible can save many problems in the medium/long term. Do not hesitate to consult a professional who will accompany and advise you during the process of separation.