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Helping children through their parents' separation

Some interesting news has recently appeared on the BBC website about how “a leading public health expert” has expressed a view that UK parents should receive government funded lessons on parenting children. 

Divorce through the eyes of a child

Brethertons recognise that sometimes parents need a little extra support especially when major changes are occurring within the family and for the past seven years they have offered a two hour workshop to parents whose relationships have broken down. The in-house session gives support, information and advice around helping their children to come to terms with the changes they are facing and the inevitable range of emotions which are connected with family breakdown. The workshop, entitled ‘Divorce Through The Eyes Of A Child’ is designed to offer parents some insight into how their child or children may be feeling but not in a patronising, judgemental way. 

Parents are usually the experts on their own families and the workshop hopes to enhance their existing insights and skills so that they are better equipped to manage their own emotions and those of their children when a break up occurs. Couples who have already split up are also invited to discuss their new relationship as separated parents and how to manage the introduction of new partners - if and when the need arises.

Therapeutic support for children

In addition to the support for parents, Brethertons are proud to say that they are now offer therapeutic support to children whose mum and dad are parting or who have parted. Schools have been offered the opportunity to utilise the skills and experience of Bretherton’s in-house therapist Liz Headley, free of charge, to help the children who might benefit from some therapeutic group work

Liz’s support is an eight week course with its roots firmly based in therapeutic play; children are encouraged to talk about the changes that their family have gone through and how they feel about those changes. Conversations are conducted in a non-invasive way through play, drama, drawing, modelling and making food together. It is a very powerful experience for the children when they realise that how they are feeling is quite normal and that other children are going through similar circumstances and may be feeling some of the same emotions that they are. Liz invites parents to attend a final session so they can be made aware of some of the themes that have emerged during the work with their children. If the children are happy to do so, they can show their dads and mums some of the artwork and various other pieces of work they have produced.

This course has been very well received by parents and children alike and it is hoped that many more schools will take up the offer of this free support and that it will continue on an ongoing basis within each school.

Below are some of the testimonials we received from parents:

“(child’s name) is now trying to express her feelings” 
“(child’s name) loved the support the group gave her”
“It was informative for a parent to see the emotions the child felt through their eyes. They now feel it is ok to be different, that not all families are the same”
“Very helpful and reassuring”
“Very supportive friendly group, (child’s name) enjoyed their time with you, thank you”

The children also gave comments:

“I liked this group I think it helped me realise”
“The best group ever!”
“This group has really helped me and I have learnt that it is ok to be different”

If you would like any advice please contact Liz Headley in our family team.