As Brangelina split, tips parents must use...

As Brangelina break up, tips parents must use when breaking up...

The children of parents who are breaking up are on my mind right now with Brad and Angelina going separate ways. I’m not going to comment on them here except to say I’m surprised when I see people saying they are “so sad” about it. Really? Have they bought into the Hollywood hype that this was the perfect couple?

Let’s not forget A-listers are notorious for their super-sized egos and wanting to do things their way. So compromise – a valuable ingredient to a successful relationship - usually isn’t in their vocabulary.

But back to the all-important children. Here are tips you need to follow if you’re breaking up.

First and foremost always keep in mind if you try and ‘damage’ your ex - directly or indirectly - you only end up damaging your children in some way. A damaged parent is a parent who can’t fully be a parent.

*Never forget your children are ‘emotional sponges’. They’ll absorb any acrimony between you.

*Do you let them know what’s happening particularly with practical matters like one parent (usually the father) moving out.

*Emphasise the good that can come from new arrangements like having ‘special time’ with each parent.

*Give them age-appropriate information. You know them best and can judge what they can cope with knowing. Never give details of personal difficulties between you two. Instead keep it general that "mummy and daddy don't get along anymore." Impress upon them that their well-being’s most important to you both.

*Always stress the break up is not your children's fault. Children often harbour feelings that they've behaved badly and it's affected mum and dad's relationship.

*Resist any urge to criticise your ex-partner in front of your children. This is particularly hurtful to them.

*Definitely seek out mediation services like National Family Mediation (nfm.org.uk). These can offer a safe place to negotiate your differences.

*During and after the breakup agree contact with each other: the form it takes - by phone and/or in person - and how often it occurs. Agreeing such ground rules gives clarity when you both feel upset.

*Be clear when one of you oversteps the mark. Don't let your boundaries slip in the volatile post-breakup months as they’ll be more difficult to reinstate.

*Treat your partner’s feelings considerately without giving false hope of a possible reunion. This is a delicate balancing act with an ex-partner who didn't want the breakup. Rise above their animosity. be the better person - it counts with your children!

*Do lean on friends/family for support as you recover from the breakup. Hiding your heartbreak can only make it worse.

*Face each day as it comes - some days you'll be upbeat, thinking you're over the worst, only to be hit by a bad day. Don't let it shake your confidence!

*Focus on the ‘new life’ that’s yours to have - you can do things that your Ex didn't want to, and there’s no longer friction/upset in your life.

*When ready, enjoy some dating but look for fun and friendship rather than plunging into a rebound relationship. Research shows 90% of these come unstuck.

*Finally, with the best will in the world if you’re at odds with a very angry partner it may be hard to have anything but an acrimonious divorce. The best you can do is keep trying to do the best you can do!

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