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Father’s Day 19th June 2022 should be a celebration but it’s not always easy for separated families. How do you help children cope?Date: 07/07/2022 Type: Articles Topic: HNW Divorce | ADR | Children | Client Perspective | Finances | Modern Family | Remote Hearings | Arbitration | Private FDR’s | Early Neutral Evaluations |
Separated families and especially children can become overly anxious about Father’s Day. Children always aim to please their parents on these special days, the build up to writing a Father’s Day card, to going out for a special meal or picnic or just doing something together as a family.
Recently, I was listening to the actor and presenter David Harewood on Dessert Island Discs when he shared his feelings with Lauren Laverne of living in a family that was the centre of his universe until his mother left the family home when he was young and was left with his father. He described that moment in his life “life changing”. The cupboards were no longer full of food and his father’s mental health declined. I must say I could feel the hurt in his voice as he spoke about it, even though he is now a grown man with his own family. He told the listeners that he did see his mother during this time but there was an agreement struck that he stay with his father. However, his message was that the situation left him feeling left out, he no longer woke up to the comforts of a loving home.
It is not uncommon that children do feel left out when parents do separate. Parents can over share information with the children which should be avoided at all costs. Often parents will say that they were not aware of anything they kept everything confidential, however, Children by in large always know and can pick up on feelings and will invariably be impacted by these
What has experience shown us to help
It is therefore important to explain in as straightforward way to your child(ren) as possible what’s happening and be supportive (as best you can) to each other, some of the tips would be to use age-appropriate language and be prepared to explain quite a few times to a child who need to be reassured. Explain to your child(ren) that you know it is painful for them, they may experience grief, anger, sadness, and confusion. A way forward would be to acknowledge their feelings – cry together if that helps but be united as far as you can and do not criticise the other parent.
Granting access on Father’s Day
As a family and child solicitor I’m often brought into the conversation sadly during the special events when parents tried to vary contact orders to accommodate upcoming events. It is not always smooth or acrimonious despite trying very hard.
This now brings me back to Father’s Day and the advice is that you both agree as much time as you can how the day and access can proceed. This is so your child(ren) will see it as a positive experience not just for themselves but the relationships they build in later life.
The Court system is currently full to the brim with Children cases and there are some circumstances in which judgments of judges/magistrates’ must be made where there are allegations of safeguarding issues. However, there are many cases that are clogging up the system with matters that can be resolved amicably without issuing expensive court proceedings, after this will be around contact with the other parent on birthdays, Christmas and special events like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. The arguments and disputes often destroy the special moments for children in their life, so we strongly encourage our clients to think of their future feelings towards these occasions try where possible to consent
Resolution is always the best
As an experienced family solicitor, I often find myself caught up in many parent’s disputes and at court. However, I try extremely hard to bring the parents together to resolve their matters amicably for the sake of the children, avoid costs and matters scaling beyond control. It is a solicitor’s duty to seek resolution where possible and to help the parties navigate what is an extremely difficult time