Iris Brighton

Iris Brighton

Parenting after parting

Separation and Divorce are painful and difficult for everyone concerned, and it is often a time of great heartache. If you are considering separating or have recently separated you may have lots of worries about what the future holds, as well as concerns about practical matters and arrangements.

At IRIS we have teamed up with two collaborative Lawyers, Jo O’Sullivan of O’Sullivan Family Law and Lynne Passmore of Lynne Passmore Family Law, who want to do things differently, and are committed to a non-adversarial approach to family law. The collaborative process, or collaborative law, provides an alternative to the more usual court process.
Discussions take place around a table, with both of you as a separating couple, present with your legal representatives. Jo and Lynne can help you to have an open and dignified discussion, and to make a tailor made agreement that fits for you and your family and makes sure that your children’s needs are given priority.

As parents, you may well be worried about how to tell your children you are going to part, how they will cope, and about how contact issues will be managed and resolved. Although your relationship has ended your role as parents has not. Parenting after parting is not the same as parenting before this, and it is essential for parents who are separating to work together to minimise the impact on their children.

At IRIS we can help with this, and have set up services aimed at arming you as parents with everything you need to know to help your children in the short, medium and long term ---- this includes looking after yourself!

Parenting after Parting Courses

We run a group course of three sessions, which can be attended either as a couple or as individuals, run over three evenings or two afternoons. Careful consideration needs to be given as to whether you attend together or separately. There are merits to both. The first session focuses on managing your separation, dealing with such issues as how and when to tell your children. The second session focuses on how to help your children, and you, in managing feelings and issues that arise from contact and co-parenting issues. The third session looks at the longer term, and how to cope with issues such as a new partner, new baby, a move away, step-families with other siblings etc.

The cost of this course is currently £32.50 per person per session. Attendance at all three sessions is £95 per person.

There are lots of benefits to attending a group session, including meeting people in a similar situation to you, and the mirror situation, and being able to learn from and support each other.

However groups are not for everyone - or there might be practical considerations which prohibit you attending one of the group sessions. We are able to offer the course to individual couples, and this has the benefit that we can really focus on the issues pertinent to you and your family. As this course is more intensive it can be completed in four hours, arranged at a time to suit you, usually comprising 2 sessions x 2 hours, or 1 session x4 hours as fits best. The cost of this tailored programme is currently £350.

Children’s Group

At IRIS we are developing a group to support children during or after their parents separation, which complements the adult group.

The purpose of the group is for children to be able to discuss their worries in a neutral environment, meet other young people in similar situations, and to promote their resilience and internal resources, enabling them to develop coping strategies.

Each year over 30,000 children in the UK experience the separation of their parents. Overall, more than one in three children will see their parents split up before they reach their sixteenth birthday. Parental separation is most usefully viewed as part of a process beginning before divorce itself and continuing long after. Support or intervention may be required at any stage to reduce possible detrimental effects on children.

Research has indicated that although separation and divorce are initially painful for everyone in the family, if managed appropriately this usually fades with time and most children settle into a pattern of normal development. Nevertheless, studies have also found that there is a greater probability of poor outcomes for children from separated families than others - and that these can be observed many years after separation, even in adulthood. These include behavioural problems, performing less well at school, becoming depressed, increased likelihood of smoking, drinking and drug misuse during adolescence etc. There are a number of possible reasons for this, including socio-economic causes. However one key identified risk is continuing conflict in the parental relationship.

Research suggests that improved outcomes for children can be assisted by their parents having better communication and less conflictual relationships. Children benefit from having ongoing relationships with both of their parents and with extended family. Research also indicates that improved outcomes can be achieved by children having the opportunity to discuss their experience of separation, either in groups or singly, and by being supported to express their needs to their parents if they wish. This can prevent some of the negative effects of separation, and ultimately enable them to build their own successful adult and parenting relationships.

The children’s group at IRIS is for children between the ages of eight and twelve. We hope to develop this to include groups for different age ranges soon.

Please contact us to enquire further about children’s groups.