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The Missing Link: Effective communication in a post-separation world

Separation and divorce is a complex and difficult time for couples, parents, families as well as friends, work and social networks. Notwithstanding the challenges and conflict experienced pre-separation, how one adapts to a new, post-separation life is vital to your health and wellbeing. For those with children, of all ages, the emotional rollercoaster of separation and decisions you make will have a deep and lasting effect for them, also.

How one navigates post-separation life, the choices you make, and your approach to dealing with conflict will not only shape your own life, but just as importantly, your kids.

Separated couples deal with the many and varied decisions that need to be made, both now and for the entirety of their children’s lives. Changes to living arrangements, schools and education, sporting activities, holidays and other cultural or religious activities.

These decisions don’t stop when children turn 18. There are many other important events that your children will experience - graduations, birthdays, engagements, weddings, the birth of their own children, just to name a few.

Post separation can be a painful and difficult time for everyone. These unchartered waters require parents and carers to be more aligned to their children’s needs and more attuned to their wellbeing than ever.

Post-separation affects everyone differently. Emotions of jealousy, shame, sadness, loneliness and anger to name a few. Many of these emotions drill down further to fear; fear of the unknown, fear of loss.

Our emotional response to separation needs to be explored and nurtured. Both men and women benefit from taking time to reflect on their situation and explore how their behaviour may be influenced as a result.

Exploring your own response to conflict is the first step to creating a peaceful and prosperous future.

The missing link? Communication.

Effective, open, honest, transparent communication.

(There will be situations when open communication Is not possible, such as situations where domestic violence and safety concerns take precedent. Domestic violence matters do not form part of this article).

Far too many otherwise ‘safe’ former-relationships result in ex-partners forgetting that they still have one thing in common. They remain parents, parents still loved by their children. Children with their own hopes and dreams.

It is the child’s perspective that is too often neglected and parked to the side, whilst separated parents embark on a new toxic relationship built on revenge and hate.

Our court and legal system do a tremendous job helping those who rely on the intervention of our judges and registrars. Day after day, lawyers help clients work through disputes in accordance with the law and decisions are handed down.

Is going to court the only pathway? Is there a better option? What has been the impact on your children?

By now, if you’re still reading this article, your mind will likely have wandered off, perhaps more than once, reflecting on your own situation or those close to you. Could things have been handled better? Could you be making better decisions for your children?

For people experiences difficult parental decisions now (not just in a post-separation setting), how do you want your children to look back at this point in their life and what lessons could they learn, for the better?

Open, authentic communication is key to dealing with difficult and complex situations. The way we communicate with each other underpins everything we do, the decisions we make and how the world interacts with us.

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a parenting dispute or a complex personal dilemma, perhaps consider the many benefits of engaging with a conflict resolution professional.

If you would like help dealing with a conflict or dilemma, improve communication in difficult situations or simply keep your dispute private and confidential, get in touch with Maxwell Parker Conflict Coaching, today.

Matthew Maxwell FDRP, NMAS, PRI

Principal Consultant & Mediator

Maxwell Parker Conflict Consulting

Mediation - FDR - Conflict Coaching


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