• Lauren Severs

Parenting Through Separation

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Parent breakups can be a challenging transition for all involved, as there are numerous factors to work through. These include balancing emotions, organising finances and managing everyday routines.

Here are some tips to help calm and settle your child into new routines and some strategies to help you establish a positive co-parenting plan.


Self-care is important and simply means taking steps toward looking after your own well-being. As a parent you need to be in good shape in order to support your child effectively.

What does this look like?

  • Find healthy ways to cope and release stress which could be as simple as going for a walk, taking a nap, journaling or taking up a new hobby.

  • Develop a supportive social network of trusted friends and family who you can talk to and share your concerns with.

  • Know that you are not alone and it’s okay to seek professional help if you feel you need it.


Where possible, try to keep communication open and direct with your child’s other parent. Consider attending a parenting programme to learn more about relevant topics such as effective co-parenting, emotional regulation and child behaviour management.

What does this look like?

  • Keep children at the heart of your decisions. You can do this by setting your feelings aside and focusing on developing a flexible parenting plan that prioritises your child’s needs.

  • Discuss rules and routines and keep these consistent across households. Ensure that special items such as blankets or toys move between homes so children know what to expect and feel secure.

  • Ensure that children have time to connect with each parent, their siblings and extended family members to keep these relationships strong and stable.

Realistic Expectations

It is normal for your child to want both their parents together however children are resilient and do adjust to life post-separation. It is helpful to have realistic expectations and keep in mind that children respond to transitions in different ways.

What does this look like?

  • Focus on creating consistency and balance to ensure the best outcomes for children during separation.

  • Encourage emotional expression and create a coping plan. Watching you experience an emotion can help to validate and normalise your child’s own feelings.

  • Take note of behaviour changes in your child that you may find concerning such as increased anxiety, aggression or trouble at school which may indicate the need for further support from a professional.

If you would like more practical advice and guidance on how to work through these, or similar issues, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. We have a parent coaching service available for those who are looking for judgement-free, practical support.

Follow more information head to www.redrobin.co.nz/parentcoaching


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