Listen to David Coleman as he shares his advice for parents on children's mobile phone use and reducing children's anxiety on The LifeStyle Show with Taragh Loughrey-Grant. Listen to the podcast in full in the video above.

Read on below for additional parenting tips from David Colman, as he shares his advice to parents who are separating. From moving house to moving on to new partners, David has some useful insights.

Are you seperated or divorced? David has this advice for parents: - 

"I often think that some of the more useful work that I do in seperation [cases] is talking to the parents," says David.

"In separation, kids can cope with a lot; they are actually very resilient sometimes - they have a natural resilience and we have to remember that.

"Kids can go with the flow of things and they can get that these are the way things are in mam's house and these are the way things are in dad's house."

"What's really difficult for children in separation, in my experience, is when the parents are in such conflict that one or the other parent - or both of them - are giving really negative messages about the other parent."

"So children then end up feeling really stuck because they love both their parents, they don't differentiate necessarily unless they're being really mistreated by one parent."

"Generally, that's not the case. It's the parents' own issue that leads to the separation so kids don't feel like they need to back one parent or the other, they want to be able to love both parents so it's really hard then if a parent is putting down the other in front of them."

"So that's one thing that parents can absolutely do - just be so careful about how they talk about the other person. Whatever issues they have, keep it between the two of you."

parents fighting
Parents should be mindful of how they speak to and about each other in front of children

Neutral Ground
He continued: "If it's the case that you can't bear the sight of each other - because that's the way that things have worked out - think about how you're going to organise the handover.

"If you don't want to spend time together, is there a neutral place, neutral venue, a neutral person even can sometimes be useful - an auntie that comes to pick up the son or the daughter and brings them off to meet the other parent."

Money and Security
"I think, as well, from kids' own perspectives, it is sometimes just about the loss of, sometimes, security because things are a little bit more unstable because, again, money tends to be a big issue in separations.

"Often, the experience for one parent or the other, there's a period of time where they're really short of money and that can really affect children's sense of security."

Moving House
"Where they're going to continue to live is another big thing.

"Sometimes we forget that our kids are kids and so we bring them too much into the decision or the discussions about it and so you'll find a mum or a dad saying, 'oh well, they want to sell the house so I have to really think about where we're going to live'." 

"Now, in my view, if - as a parent - that's still undecided you may be better off not yet discussing it with your child until it's clear that A.

"The house is definitely going to get sold and B. You have some idea of the area you're likely to be renting in."

"Perhaps, if your child is old enough, you might well bring them to view a couple of different places that you may be renting - that's fine but I think they need, sometimes, a little bit more clarity.

"We need to be able to give them a little bit more clarity."

Cardboard boxes and cleaning things for moving into a new home
Be sure to provide your children with security and clarity during a separation

Minimal Impact
"Some parents, in fairness, come to me before they separate saying, 'how can we best do this? It's going to happen, for sure, but how can we have minimal impact on our children?'

"So that, I think, is about parents trying to have things as clear as possible so that when they're talking to their kids, there's more certainty about the process so I often say to parents, 'if you can at all, wait until there's a clear date for the separation to physically happen if it's the case that one parent will be moving out'.

"Then you're saying to the kids, 'this will happen in three weeks time' as opposed to, 'this will happen' and then everything seems to be going on as normal, potentially for months. Because of finances, a lot of parents are nominally separated but still have to live in the same house which is so difficult.

"Kids can get the idea of separation if parents are separated but if they're physically still in the same house and they seem to be, on the face of it, getting on enough [it can be confusing]."

divorce
Be mindful of introducing a new partner to your children too early, following a separation


New Partners


"I think it's just a part of nature and life and so it's not necessarily a bad thing but the key to introducing new partners is that it's got to be done sensitively."

"You've got to think about your child and the meaning of this for your child and so one of the big things for children is that if you introduce a new person into your life, then one of the messages that your kid may get is that you love them more than you love your child. 

"Again, it's about recognising that and then afterwards reassuring them that they're still really connected to you and that it doesn't actually change your relationship with them - that this is someone who is being added in as opposed to taking over.

"It's always going to be difficult and sometimes it causes a bit of tension as well within the separation with the other parent because they're like, 'What are you doing? I don't want some other man or some other woman in the house with my kids' so it can lead to other difficulties."

"Those things need to be ironed out between the adults and that's the key bit but generally, most parents, are attuned to the fact that they will rarely introduce a new partner until they're sure that this new partner is quite likely to be sticking around.

"I think that is fair enough for kids, that you're not just introducing people who might be very positive and have a really strong connection with your child but then within a month or two months, suddenly it's all gone.

"That's confusing for a child and another difficult bit of loss for them."

Listen to David discuss children's mobile phone use, developing healthy smartphone habits and tips to lower children's anxiety in the podcast above.