Children’s loyalty issues after separation
Children face difficult loyalty conflicts when forced to choose between their parents. If being close to one parent means being disloyal to the other, children can feel stuck in the middle. Trying to choose between two parents they love can feel like an impossible situation. It’s often hard for parents to spot loyalty conflicts. Most parents just want to do what’s in the child’s best interests, but their perceptions of this can be clouded by feelings about the other parent. As a result, loyalty conflicts are often caused by unconscious behaviour and subtle messages from parents, and are usually unintended.  How to recognise loyalty conflicts If your child is frequently upset at handovers, seems unwilling to visit the other parent, or even refuses to go, they may be experiencing divided loyalties. Your child’s feelings are heavily influenced by your relationship with your ex-partner. This relationship is likely to be complicated, especially in the early days when you are still working things out. As co-parents, it’s important for you and your ex to have an ongoing relationship. You may need to address some of the following issues: Competition. Your children matter more to you than anything else in the world, and it can feel wonderful to know how much you mean to them. You may instinctively want to try and prove that you’re a better parent than your ex, but this can be confusing and worrying for your children. Remember that it’s best for the children when both of you are on top of your parenting game. Insecurity. If you are already the children’s main carer, separation can feel like a challenge to your role. You might feel like you have more of a right than the other parent to raise your children. It might even feel like your ex is suddenly putting effort into spending time with the children when they didn’t before – this can feel particularly threatening. Anger. It’s common to feel angry during and after a separation and there may be a part of you that wants to punish your ex. However reasonable this feels, it’s essential for your children’s happiness that you leave them out of your disputes. Don’t use your children as bargaining chips, and don’t expecting them to share your anger. Control. You will have to relinquish some control when your children spend time with their other parent. This might make you anxious, but it’s best for the children if you avoid criticising the other parent’s way of doing things. Children are generally good at adapting to different house rules and parenting styles but it can be difficult for them if their parents try to undermine each other. If you there are no immediately obvious reasons why your child is experiencing difficulties, it’s possible there’s a loyalty conflict. Give your children permission to be as close to the other parent as they are to you. Watch out for the hidden messages that children pick up on, and make sure you and your ex are doing as much as possible to make sure your children are comfortable and happy in both homes. Separated partners tend to reassess each other in the light of their relationship breakdown. If your ex has hurt you and disappointed you, you may feel that they’re untrustworthy, selfish, uncaring, irresponsible, and whatever else comes to mind. But it is important to remember that this assessment is about your ex as a partner, and not as a parent. Hard as it may be, try to focus on their good points as a parent. Remember that this is how your children see them, and try to separate your feelings from your children’s. Talking this through with a friend or a counsellor could help you to find new ways of adapting to being a single parent. If you and your ex are struggling to agree the arrangements for your children, a family mediator can support you in deciding what’s best for them.
Article | children, parenting apart
0 5 min read
“Prevented from seeing my son”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am a single dad who has an almost 6-month-old son. His mother and I are not in a relationship. My son was the unexpected result of a short casual affair. DNA proved that he is my son and I have been paying maintenance. I have also formed a relationship with him and love him very much. I have been seeing him several times a week without his mother and have also had him stay overnight once. His mother is a good mother to him but she has now decided to stop me seeing him and has said I have to apply legally to see him. There is no good reason for this. I am a good father, I do not drink, smoke or am abusive or violent. She has also said I will be able to see him only in a Supervised Contact Centre until he is 6 years old. Is this correct? I am sure she has stopped me seeing my son because she wanted to get back with me into a relationship which for various reasons I do not want. I do not have Parental Rights yet as the mother has refuse to sign the form giving me these rights. I now have to apply to the courts. I feel that for my son to have a Birth Certificate which says Father Unknown is unfair to him . I have booked a Mediation Appointment. Can anyone advise me on what visitation rights I may be able to have. My boy is missing out on a loving extended family situation.
Ask the community | contact
“My man has four kids and I do everything”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   For the past 12 months I have looked after my partner 100% as well as his kids. I do it all! He has paid for a few holidays for me, bought me some clothes and then tells me "well my ex gf paid for her own trips" I said yes, but she also hated your kids... He has told me plenty of times a nanny would be cheaper. He says I am still not enough in this relationship as he expects me to dedicate 100% of my time and I'm not allow to start my own business as it means I am working outside this family... He says that his income comes in and he is either working to pay for this family OR spending time with me and the kids... He thinks that the 5 schools days they are not home I am not allowed to spend on my business. He also says the fact I am broke is my own problem... I have now (i dont know why I didn't check this earlier) found out that nannies doing my work in this area WITHOUT cooking and cleaning for the man get $400+ board+food .... It works out that he has given me $200 per week and put me down for being broke and that he pays for me for everything. So I told him today I want the money per week as a nanny and he said I am being ridiculous, that I am his girlfriend and should ask for money. So I just sent him the following and I am waiting for his reply. Am I wrong? 1. “all of me, all of you” - Provide me €300 per week I will continue as I have been and provide €20,000 in a bank account in case we break up. My hours extra outside current home duties will be discussed and what my time spent on can be agreed on so you feel “connected”. If we become engaged and another contract is agree then that €20,000 goes back to joint account. If I start making an income in the outside work we agree on then the €300 stops. And we can discuss the amount of my income I put back into the family. If we have a child this amount becomes a new discussion. 2. Provide me with €400pw and I continue doing exactly as I have. I currently dedicate 4 days to this family and my extra days can be doing what I want without judgment from you. 3. We sort out my financial independence of €9000 based on the time I have already dedicated into this family, I will move out and my future financial situation is my own issue. Then we can the start dating and we can meet for dinners when you don't have the kids, and I will physically pay my half of holidays with my own money. I can come and hang out with the kids and sometimes spend the night, and as your girlfriend I can help you out with the kids for pickups and if you travel. I will be there for the kids in the same loving way except we don't need to be worried about who thinks they do more. At that stage any help we provide each other will be fair and done out of love. 4. I can leave now, we can clear this up with €9000 for my time into this family that I dedicated. If you choose this I will walk away and make no dramas and we just end things nicely.
Ask the community | stepfamily, arguments, finance
Separating from a pregnant partner
If you and the mother of your child have separated, you might be worried about what time you’ll get to spend with your child. If the relationship between you and your ex is volatile, you might not be able to hold a conversation long enough to discuss joint childcare arrangements. Why do I feel scared about this? There a few reasons you might feel this way: If you’ve recently separated, emotions will be running high and everything can be quite intense. It’s common to be overwhelmed, and this could be affecting your worldview. You may have heard stories of other dads not getting the chance to play a part in their children’s lives after a separation. 13% of non-resident fathers say they have no contact and never see their child [1], and this is a frightening statistic for expectant dads contemplating a separation. You might worry that you don’t have as many legal rights as your partner, or that they will move on with someone new who could take on a parenting role with your child. How can I help the situation? If your partner is angry and doesn’t want anything to do with you, first let the dust settle. Give her with space, and respect the decisions she makes for your child. The law will always favour your child’s needs, so the best thing you can do is demonstrate that you will be a positive influence in your child’s life. When the time is right, you could talk with her about doing a parenting plan. We offer a free online parenting plan where you can make decisions and make plans without having to speak directly to your ex. You will get a notification when they have made a suggestion, and you can agree, disagree, or find a compromise – all the while focusing on the best arrangements for the baby. Research suggests that even though regular face-to-face meetings are most ideal, frequent contact by phone or email can make up for distance from your child [2]. Although this kind of contact may not be ideal, it should enable you to maintain your parent-child bond. This is particularly good news if you live in a different location to your partner and your child. If your partner ends up blocking you from seeing your child, then you may need to go down the legal route. While the courts recognise the importance of the mother in the very early years, there is no gender bias. Researchers from the University of Warwick found that fathers applying for child contact had been “overwhelmingly successful” and that dads fared just as well as mums when making contact applications [3].   References [1] Eloise Poole. (2013). What do we know about non-resident fathers? Retrieved from Modern Fatherhood: www.modernfatherhood.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Briefing-paper-Non-resident-fathers.pdf [2] McGene, J. and King, V. (2012) Implications of New Marriages and Children for Coparenting in Nonresident Father Families. Journal of Family Issues, 33(12), 1619–41. [3] Warwick University (2015). Study finds English and Welsh family courts not discriminating against fathers. Retrieved from: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/study_finds_english/
Article | breakups, contact
0 4 min read
Pregnant and splitting up
If you’re pregnant and going through a separation, you might be worrying about how the breakup will affect your child. Stress One of the things you might be thinking about is how the stress of separation or divorce might affect your baby’s development in the womb. Research has found that relationship strain during pregnancy appears to be linked to negative cognitive and behavioural development in children [1]. If separation is the right thing for you as parents, it’s possible to minimise the stress and remain supportive to each other. This might be very difficult, especially if there are unresolved issues between you but, by being reasonable, rational and respectful, it is possible. Take your time to talk through a plan of action. If you decide to stay together, talk to your partner about how you can help reduce stress during the pregnancy. Maybe take up some light exercise together, or practice some yoga designed for pregnancy. If you do have arguments, take the calm and collected approach. If things get heated, take a break and return to the issue when you feel calmer. A two-parent family You may want your child to be brought up by two parents, especially if you were raised by both parents and want your child to have a similar upbringing. Some studies have found that children in two-parent homes are less likely to grow up in poverty [2], and are also less likely to develop emotional problems [3]. But, single-parent families are becoming more common and there is lots of support available for single parents. The number of lone-parent households in the UK grew steadily from 1.8 million in 2003 to nearly 1.9 million in 2013 [5]. While some research suggests that children in single-parent families have poorer outcomes, other research shows that, when it comes to their overall happiness, family composition doesn’t really matter [6]. It’s the quality of the relationship you have with your child that counts. If you stay with your partner, talk about how you want to raise your child. You both may have different ideas of what family life will be like. Take the time, hear each other out and make compromises where you can. Adjustment You may have been brought up in a single-parent household and found it hard to adjust to life. You may have witnessed conflict between your separated parents and, at times, may have felt caught between the two. A poll of 500 young people found that one in three felt that one of their parents had tried to turn them against the other during the breakup [4]. If your own upbringing in a single-parent household was difficult, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want your child to go through a similar experience.  It’s important to nurture a good co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner. A good place to start is to seek mediation or create a parenting plan so you can agree on how you will raise your child.   References [1] Bergman K., Sarkar P., O'Connor T.G., Modi N., Glover V. (2007). Maternal stress during pregnancy predicts cognitive ability and fearfulness in infancy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007 Nov; 46(11):1454-63. DOI: 10.1097/chi.0b013e31814a62f6 [2] Gingerbread (2018). Single parent statistics. Retrived on 16 April 2018 from: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics [3] Parry-Langdon, N. (2008). Three years on: Survey of the development and emotional well-being of children and young people. Office for National Statistics [4] Office for National Statistics (2013). Families and Households: 2013. Retrieved from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2013/stb-families.html [5] The Parent Connection. Children in single parent families no less happy than those in two parent households. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/children-in-single-parent-families-no-less-happy-than-those-in-two-parent-households [6] The Parent Connection. 1 in 3 young people say one parent tried to turn them against the other during divorce. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/1-in-3-young-people-say-one-parent-tried-to-turn-them-against-the-other-during-divorce
Article | breakups, pregnancy
0 4 min read
“Child arrangements”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi. My partner and I have been together for 7 years on and off as he has a drinking problem and bad group of friends and kept breaking up because of that. he was illegal at the time we met and I supported Him all the years till last year he got his rights to stay in the country on the basis of his 2 kids. He got his rights but still didn't want to work and was depending on me. I was paying all the bills etc. We kept arguing for a few months because of that and then all of a sudden I had to go abroad for a family emergency with my kids and he was at the time staying in my home and he did not go tact us whilst we were away, I tried so many time to get hold of him and only sometimes did so we got into an argument and I told him to leave as I was tired of taking all the responsibilities as I only worked part time and we have kids to support too. When I got back from abroad he had dissapeared from the home. he had taken all his belongings with. I tried to contact him but phone went to voicemail. I asked his friends and all said they didn't know where he was so I contacted the police after 48hrs and reported him missing and a week later I heard he went abroad to visit family. He contacted me a few times after that from there and then all of a sudden he stopped. He came back to the UK without informing me and I heard from.a friend of mine that he is back and wen I bumped into him he made like he did not know me so I left it as that as I didn't know eat to say or do. I later tried to call him, I sent him text msges but till today it's been 4 months now he not responded. my kids miss him so much. I am going through depression at the moment I cannot even go to work due to stress. As a single parent it is very difficult for me. I have 2 kids with him and a son from my previous husband. I don't know what to do as he does not provide anything not does he contact the kids. I am finding it so difficult to cope on my own as my youngest is not even 2yrs old. I cannot afford mediation or court fees. I really need him to help with the kids. I would like him to take or see the kids as it's affecting them. I have noticed a change in them since they got back and the dad was gone. I have spoken to child maintenance service and they will try help but I need help into child arrangements. I have tried to text him but has not got back to me regarding this. Could someone help me in this situation?
Ask the community | contact
“Visitation and day-to-day care”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi I'm in need of some support tips on how to deal with this situation. I am currently in processes of court order I've made to an ex-partner who is the father of my child. There was a lot of things he's done, I had to step up and finally tell someone what was going on in ma 5-yr relationship with the father of my child, which I wanted it to end a bit earlier in the years. I've been and sorted with lawyers, child for lawyers, appointments i attended. After a few of those I've done. Few months maybe more later. Its 2018 now I never heard bk from the lawyers at all or from the courts for a follow up about the cases. I had and heard no contact from no lawyers nothing. A letter came in and I opened it, and it says it was dated on the 2nd of march, I had to attend a conference court case on the 2nd of march 2018. I didn't receive the letter till the 29th of march that's when a letter arrived in my mail box. Why did it take that long to arrive in ma post. I contacted the family law centre to follow up why was the letter sent late. I received the letter in ma mail on the 29th of march, and on the letter it stated and dated on the 2nd march. Apparently I missed the court case. I turned up to the actual first one he didn't, then when I ended hearing about another one I didn't get notified about it for a few weeks he turned up to that, and I didn't. As now I don't know what he capable of he's sly, and I just need some tips how to cope with not been schemed and get stuff put on to me that isn't true. I raised and cared for ma son his whole life I've been there,while his father wasn't around, he's housed, fed, clothed, enrolled him into school he's doing great at school. I really want the father to get visitation at a centre where he's supervised. Not alone as that's why I took him to court - violence, etc... Just abuse.
User article | contact, physical abuse