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Separated parents often seem to be in a hurry to introduce their new partner to their children. This is driven by a need to move things on swiftly, get all their ducks in a row and harness the momentum created by the separation. However, this is the parents’ agenda coming to the fore, believing this will cement the relationship with their new partner and the children. It is in no way meeting children’s needs or acting in their best interests.
Children will still be coming to terms with the implications of their parent’s separation. The introduction of a new partner will likely cause confusion, insecurity, anxiety, and sadness. Even if approached gently with sensitivity, kindness, and the passage of time, for children this will be an emotional minefield.
The separation will have already involved emotional and practical changes which need to be handled with constant love, reinforcing stability and reassurance. Giving children time is crucial here. A general guide is to wait for at least 6 months, if not longer, to allow the children to process and accept the changes from the separation before they meet a new partner. At a time when their confidence and self-esteem maybe low, the introduction of a third party who has a special relationship with their parent will raise concerns about their own place in that parent’s life.
Where do they fit in? Will that parent replace them too? The children need to be the sole focus of the parent’s attention. When it becomes appropriate to introduce a new partner, this piece of work needs to be done very carefully, gently and with both parents involved. As with all separation issues, children are the priority. Their needs are always paramount.”
When a parent falls in love with a new partner, do not assume your child will feel positive about the new partner. If you are introducing children from both parties in the new relationship, this must be handled with great care and sensitivity. Both parties need to make sure they agree how they will take this step crucial step.
At Nightingale, we understand that life moves on. If you decide that you want to be in a relationship with a new partner, but you’re unsure how you can prioritise your children’s needs in this process, we can help. As part of our Parenting Partners service, we work with separating couples throughout the separation process and beyond. We look at what happens if one, or both, separating parents enter new relationships. Not only how this affects your children’s needs, but how it also needs to be handled from a co-parenting perspective.
Our Separation Consultant, Lynda, is on hand to guide you and your family through this process. She has worked in family mediation for over 20 years and has the experience and knowledge that will help you and your family during these sensitive times.
To book an appointment with Lynda, call Nightingale Marriage Counselling on 0141 353 9373 or us the contact form on our Contact page.
The children are used to deliver information from one parent to the other, which information will often be received by their mum/dad in an emotional, dramatic, or even aggressive way. Parents are prioritising their own issues instead of their children’s needs.
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