When parents separate, they sometimes do things that can put their children in difficult positions. Do you recognise any of these behaviours?

Four different scenarios are shown. The first is two parents and a child, one parent is tuning a key in the other's back while the child looks confused. The second is two parents a child, the two parents both have presents for the child. The third is a parent talking to a child, there is a speech bubble that shows another parent with devil horns and a tail. The fourth is a parent and a child, the parent is pointing to a scroll showing another parent crossed out.

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A) Provoking your child’s other parent

If you add to the other parent’s stress or anxiety, it can have a direct impact on your child. A parent feeling overwhelmed will struggle to meet their child’s needs.

 

Try instead: Put your decisions through ‘The Child Test’. Ask yourself, “How might this affect my child?”

B) Competing to be the favourite parent

Most children just want their parents’ time and attention. Competing with your child’s other parent can pull focus away from doing what is best for your child.

 

Try instead: Focus on what your child needs from you. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this for my child’s best interest, or for another reason?”

C) Badmouthing your child’s other parent

When one parent badmouths the other, your child can feel forced to choose sides. As a result, they may avoid telling you about problems to do with their other parent.

 

Try instead: Focus on finding solutions to the problem. If you really need to vent, call someone you trust. Just make sure your child doesn’t overhear.

D) Not letting your child talk about the other parent

It can be painful to hear your child talk about their other parent. But if children think what they’re saying is upsetting you, they will start to censor themselves around you.

 

Try instead: Remember that your child still loves their other parent. Try to show interest and say something positive. And smile, even if you’re not feeling it!

Visit new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/parent-relationships to find out what we’re doing in Brighton and Hove so all parents are #GettingOnBetter.