Thoughts on making your children’s needs a priority – September 2016

A concern that often raises its head above others is when parents, step-parents and de facto partners don’t make the needs of their own children, and the children in the new relationship, a priority. The resulting emotional and physical neglect impacts severely on the child’s ability to build a true sense of identity.

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With the high incidence of separation and engagement in new relationships, the new partners often make each other and their new relationship a priority rather than prioritising the needs of the children. Often the complexity of the changing relationships and roles results in emotional confusion for the children involved and these internal conflicts often manifest as behavioural issues.

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In our work we often observe the following:

  • A new partner competing with the children for attention.
  • Conflict in the new relationship because of the focus by one parent on the needs of the children
  • Financial conflict because of the financial obligations to children of previous relationships
  • Conflict with former partners because of engagement in a new relationship.
  • Children being used by both the separated parties and the new partner as a way to manipulate each other.
  • An ongoing conflict between the separated parents where the children are used as an excuse to punish each other.
  • One parent using any excuse to make the other party’s parenting style appear wrong whilst looking to gain a custodial advantage over that parent.

Some of the needs to focus on to support children to build a healthy sense of who they are:-

  •  Safety: Both a physical and emotional.
  • Learning support: To build the ability to engage in learning.
  • Trusting relationships: Love and connection that is emotionally safe.
  • Predictability: Patterns and routines that are stable and predictable where transitions         are well  managed.

Each child is a unique and valuable developing human being. You teach them their worth in the mirror of your relationship with them. They deserve the best.

Are you doing that?