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My Dream Mum and Dad

They would let each other see their children as much and as often as they can.

It would be great if Mum and dad just got along – not even as friends would be OK.

They would encourage the children to have a good time with the other parent. They would not swear at their children.

They might punish their children a bit if they are naughty and that's OK. But they wouldn't hit us.

They will appreciate and love their children by telling them so when they come and stay or call up and talk.

They would try and create a home where the children would look forward to coming back and want to call them up.

They would talk about parent things with each other and not talk to the children about parent things.

They would swap or share birthdays and Christmases in a helpful way without getting angry at each other. They would keep their promises to us.

They would not bad mouth each other.

When they get angry with each other it messes up their love for us. Hating each other makes it harder for the children. They would both talk to all our teachers – maybe not together though.

They would be really busy loving their children, not fighting over them. They would know that there was enough of their children to love and go around for everyone.

They would sit down with their children from time to time and ask them ' How's it going ?' and 'How could it be better?' Parents should have to go for a tune up from time to time for being separated parents. How else do they how they are doing?

Wally Mckenzie, Gerald Monk and John Winslade. (Narrative mediation – a new approach to conflict resolution 2001 Wiley). All leading exponents of narrative mediation in New Zealand compiled this list to help parents to look quite differently at the cost of their conflict for their children and to invite parents to explore and discuss what their children might include on their own list of what would make their parents great.

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