Interrelate's Children's Contact Service offers safe, neutral, flexible, and child-focused time for children and their families to spend time together. The aim of Interrelate Children's Contact Service is to support children to connect and build positive relationships with family members who they do not live with or are not connecting with outside our service.

How a child views their family

As a child grows up their experience in the family home and the way they see their parents interacting, all play a role in their view of a what a family looks like.

At some point all families experience dificult and challenging times and it is during these periods that families can experience conflict. The way a family deals with conflict has a big influence on whether a child views the family unit in a positive or negative light.

Who is this important to?

For children who have developed a negative view of their family this can have a direct impact on the child's future relationships, their developmental outcomes and their behavioural traits. For a lot of families separation can cause confilct. Understanding how you can limit the negative impact this conflict has on your child/ren is important to ensure the best outcomes for your them.

"It is not separation that causes a child to view their family negatively, but the conflict that it can create". What you can do to support your child to develop and maintain a positive view of their family:

Present as a united front

Support any visit with the other parent or significant person and encourage the child/ren to enjoy their time with the person they are visiting.

When asked about the separation or what is going to happen in the future, answer by saying that Mum and Dad or adults will sort it out together.

Avoid talking negatively about the other parent to the children

  • If using the contact centre, consider dropping the children off face-to-face with the other person. This allows children to see that you are both supporting the visit and communicating with each other in a positive way. This can be done with a worker present and inside the centre.
  • Allow your child/ren the right to love both parents, significant other and family members.
  • Encourage interests that the child/ren has in common with the other parent/adult.

Avoid fighting in front of the family

  • Instead of yelling at the other parent pause before you respond; take a breath and respond in a calm manner.
  • Try to avoid escalating disagreements; you do not have to come to an agreement immediately.
  • Come up with a simple statement you can use if you begin to get angry like; "I need to think about that for a second."
  • Repeat this pharse silently to yourself; "we are placing a huge burden on the children when we do not cooperate."
  • Repeat this thought; "this is for our children, not for me and not for the other parent."
  • Keep children out of the arguements.

Use positive communication

  • Avoid talking negatively about the other parent to the children.
  • When speaking with the other parent in front of the child, avoild talking about personal matters.

Practice self-care

  • Eat healthy food
  • Attend counselling
  • Ensure you are getting adequate sleep of 6-8 hours daily
  • Learn something new or take up a hobby
  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Try reading, gardening or listening to music