If you are separating or divorcing and you have made an application to the court to sort out living arrangements for your children the court may have ordered you to attend a Separated Parent Information Programme (SPIP). You may feel reluctant to attend. You may want to know more what is involved.
Attending a SPIP will give you the opportunity to meet other people in conflict with their ex-partners over arrangements for the children and give you the opportunity to hear from two experienced trainers, often mediators, about the impact of divorce and separation on children and to discuss ideas to help reduce conflict and improve communication between you and your ex-partner. Research has shown the separation doesn’t have to harm children if it is handled well; it is conflict that has a negative effect.
You will watch a DVD made by children, following a family through a separation. The DVD focuses on what children feel as their parents separate and what they need from their parents.
There are discussions and tips on how you can try and communicate better with your former partner, even if they are being very difficult and do not seem to be cooperating. There are discussions about the emotional aspects of divorce and separation, tips on helping you look after yourself and on how you can move forward, putting the past behind you.
Parents are sometimes reluctant to attend but most parents who do attend find it a very helpful experience.
Putting the past conflict as a couple behind you isn’t always easy; talking to other parents in similar situations and hearing from experienced trainers can sometimes help give you ideas on how to move forward and find ways of working together as separated parents.
You will learn amongst other things:
- That you should try not to fight in front of the children or ask them to choose sides
- That your children may have different feelings to yours
- That you should think about what you can do, not what your ex-partner should or shouldn’t do
- That you should focus on what has worked, not on what hasn’t worked
- That small steps can lead to big changes
- To look after yourself and be the best parent you can
So if you are ordered to attend a SPIP don’t be negative or try and avoid going; you will hopefully find it a useful and informative day.