Position Statement

The following papers summarise current research relating to parenting in the context of separation and divorce, and consider some of the services, policies and community-based interventions that might be supportive of positive parenting functions during such major life changes.

Separation and divorce are common phenomena in the community today, but still represent a major life stressor for those involved. Over 50% of all separations involve children under the age of 18, so knowing how to facilitate children’s adjustment is crucial. Of central importance is the maintenance of a secure emotional base for children after their parents separate, exactly as they needed before. Children adjust better to separation and divorce when there is effective and constructive resolution of conflict between the parents, nurturing, authoritative parenting from at least one parent, and good inter-parental communication.  When working with separating parents, professionals can encourage them to consider their child’s needs as separate to their own, and to work towards establishing secure co-parenting arrangements where it is safe to do so.

The APS recommends that separating parents:

  • focus on building a secure emotional base for their children after separation, wherever possible through cooperative co-parenting
  • do not expose their children to high levels of unresolved conflict
  • carefully consider their children’s developmental and emotional needs when constructing visiting schedules or parenting plans.

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Literature Review

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