Co-Parenting – Did you get Divorced this Week?

Hilary Sharpe
CEO and Founding Director of Family Focus Consultancy

Did you get divorced this week?  Do you know how many other couples did the same?

Well in 2016, sorry I don’t have the numbers for 2017, I guess it takes a while to calculate the figures, but if you did divorce in 2016 you were one of the 106,959 couples who also divorced. Yes, even I was surprised by the number. (Office for National Statistics)

That is a lot of people getting a divorce.  All those loving feelings no longer around, all those wishes and hopes, dreams for the future all now part of just that, dreams, that were once going to be reality and see you through to the sunset of your life.

Sorry to make you feel worse, but with an increase of divorce up 5.8%, from 2015, there are some hard choices you now have to make.

If you are lucky some aspects of your life will stay the same, work, bricks and mortar that you call home, friends – maybe, extended family – hopeful.

Sorry I am not painting a helpful picture, but things do not have to be so bleak.  Take for instance your children, yes children who suddenly take on a new existence, new needs, new wants and most importantly new demands.

Then you realise your role and job as a parent has changed, you are either no longer living with them each day, or caring for children alone.  Either way the role of a parent is different and dare I say it, scary.  Surely it cannot be that difficult, after all you know your children and they know you, so that is fine, nothing can go wrong, one less thing to worry about.

However, we all know that is not entirely true, caring for children is not the easiest job in the world and with changes come even bigger responsibilities, both on a practical level and an emotional level.

Dealing with divorce through the Courts is fraught with difficulties, not least the taking of sides, never easy and often it is the children who suffer and get lost in the myriad of he said/she said allegations.

The need for time out, to have space to think and work out how you really feel is not easy to find.  Years of experience has taught us having the space and opportunity to work out some of the issues about divorce and what happens to your children is crucial if children are not to struggle with this massive change in their life and, yours.

Acquiring new skills, you thought you may never really need, is an area that adults suddenly realise could be the difference between how often, or not, they see their children. The novelty can wear off very quickly when children are sleeping on a camp bed in the spare room, especially if this is a regular weekly occurrence.

Then your ex-partner tells you the children need more than a take-away, don’t give them fizzy drinks all the time and what about getting yourself organised if you want to see the children more often or take them on holiday, the list can go on and on.

There are not many programmes, or support, out there that offer divorced parents the opportunity to address the practical issues as well as the emotional issues of divorce. Support is at hand.

Your children need to have and should expect to have, both their parents still parenting them, as you did before the divorce, you also need to get on with your life and, juggling the two can be difficult but it can be done, just in a different way.

About Hilary

Hilary Sharpe is the CEO and founding director of FamilyFocus Consultancy an independent organisation offering range of support and training to families at times of need and crisis, hilary.sharpe@familyfocuslincolnshire.org.uk

Hilary has worked in social work for over 37 years and would still chose this as her career if starting all over again. The setting up of FamilyFocus was the result of a ‘menopausal hissy fit’ after hearing about the closure of a local Sure Start family centre. Prior to this she was working as an independent social work consultant and after moaning about this closure, felt she should stop moaning and do something about it herself –hence FamilyFocus.

FamilyFocus is a small, independence Community Interest Company, offering bespoke support and training for families at times of crisis and need. She has said ‘We offer good old fashioned family support, which means we have the time to listen and talk to families, helping them to make the changes they feel can work for their families.’

Hilary spent many years in residential work, followed by working in Fostering and Adoption teams as well as setting up a respite scheme for families who needed a short break whilst caring for their child with either physical or emotional needs. At one point she ran a residential unit for adolescent boys and girls, again by a voluntary independent agency, were supervision took the form of staff group psychotherapy as well as individual psychotherapy for Hilary, as the officer in charge.

Hilary has said ‘This was a new and exciting way of offering supervision at that time and, is still not seen as a way of offering supervision, but my experience of this was very positive and has a direct bearing on the way I work today.’

As an independent organisation we have the ability to contribute in a very significant way by providing services that public services just are not able to do so.   As a small organisation we are also able to specialise in areas that others are not able to do so, because of time restraints or simply because there is no specialism within teams. We are not governed by red tape, which gives us a flexibility to meet the needs of those who come to us for support.

Further details can be obtained from – enquiries@familyfocuslincolnshire.org.uk

Web: www.familyfocuslincolnshire.org.uk
Follow familyfocus on twitter @SharpeHilary

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