Separation or divorce does not normally end your involvement and responsibility as a parent. Children need the continuing affection and support of both parents. This will require cooperation with your former partner which may not always be easy.
The pain of a separation can be felt in many ways. You may feel lonely, desperate, depressed or grief-stricken; you may feel a failure and lose your selfconfidence; you may feel angry, jealous or guilty. Mixed up with all these emotions, you might also feel a sense of relief.
All of these feelings are normal responses to a separation. You should not be alarmed by the fact that you experience them and you should not expect to cope with everything immediately. On the other hand, if you nurse feelings such as jealousy, anger or despair for too long, they may take over and prevent you from once again leading a fulfilling life. They may also get in the way of your children’s adjustment. There are many ways of coping with a separation but they can be broadly described as falling into two basic categories. One reaction is to get stuck in selfpity, living in the past, continuing the bitterness, putting the children in the middle of your conflict and turning the children against their other parent. This type of reaction always means increased difficulties for everyone, particularly the children.
The other reaction is where you try to make the best of the situation and learn through your experience. Choosing this direction gives you the chance to rebuild your life, regain your self-confidence, find new and satisfying goals and take a positive view of life again.
The way you handle the separation very much affects how your children cope with it. During this time of great difficulty you may find some of the following suggestions helpful for you and your children.