Working Together as Parents
If you plan to have a baby together whilst not in a relationship, take the opportunity to talk about your views and ideas on how you want to raise your child.
• Discuss your own childhoods together – what would you like to do the same? What do you want to do differently?
• Talk about how you will support each other to build a bond with your baby. How will you make sure you help each other rest?
• Talk about the practicalities of contact, money, housing and changes that might happen in the future. How will you cope with disagreements?
• Agree to regular catch ups to make sure the arrangement is working and you are both working together for your child.
Your new partner may also have children. Families come in all shapes and sizes and the ‘joining up’ of family units is very common these days. If parents are sensitive to the needs of their children this can be a positive experience.
Again it is important to give it time to be sure that you feel this is likely to be a lasting relationship. Start slowly. Relate have some good advice on managing the challenges of a blended / step family *here*.
Discuss beforehand how you will manage any misbehaviour or disagreements between children. It is important that this is done fairly and children do not feel that there is ‘favouritism’.
Every relationship has times when it is difficult to get along. If there is arguing, upset and bad atmospheres it is hard for everyone. We know this is very true for children.
Children who are around conflict between their parents notice it. Children are aware; even if you think that because they are little, or are in bed or in another room they will not know. Children are very tuned in to the world around them. They can be scared and worried when their parents aren’t getting on.
Learning how to manage disagreements in a healthy way sets a good example to our children. Learning how to share how you feel, and listen to how others feel is a good skill for life. Try Relate’s ‘Argument Check Up’ *here*. See how you and your partner can improve the way you discuss things.
If the arguments continue counselling support can make a difference. You can go together or separately. It can give you time and space to work out how to improve your relationship. You might decide the relationship is over. Relationship counsellors can help you manage this as well as possible for you and your children.
Sometimes relationships are not healthy and your relationship can be abusive. There is some information on signs your relationship could be unhealthy *here*. It can be very hard to accept your relationship is unsafe for you and for your child. Growing up around domestic abuse can cause long term harm to children and young people. Find someone to talk it through with there are local services to help you *here*.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.
*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum.