The art of living apart but parenting together


Children need their parents to get along after they have separated, writesKathryn Holmquist

The worst thing about parental separation isn't the fact that the parents split up, it's the fact that many use their children as scud missiles to get revenge on each other. The harm comes from the process, rather than the end result.

Effective co-parents put their personal disputes aside and put their children first. Ineffective co-parents take each other to court over the slightest thing. Dad calls Mom a bad parent and vice versa. Dad tries to intimidate Mom out of the house. Mom gets a safety order. Psychological reports are ordered by the court.

It doesn't take a psychologist to tell you that children who absorb the tension of the such battles are victims of blinkered parental selfishness - which comes from deep pain, so let's not be too judgemental.

The greatest irony of separation and divorce is that children need their parents to get along afterwards. With this mind, Claire Missen of the Marriage and Relationships Counselling Service is offering a three-week course in "Post-Separation Parenting", starting next Monday.

The course runs on September 23rd, 30th and October 7th at 7.30 p.m. at the MRCS, 38 Upperr Fitzwilliam St, Dublin. To register, call Lisa O'Hara at (01) 678 5256. The cost is €75.