So Brangelina is no more.
The revelation that a Hollywood power couple are to split has made for front page news the Earth over, fuelling fervent speculation, gossip and rumour on television and radio shows, websites and, perhaps most rampantly, across social media in all its myriad forms.
The response from some quarters has been, it saddens (but not surprises) us to note, gleeful, spiteful and, at times, bordering on the cruel.
Celebrities (unfortunately) have to get used to such things and the fact that open season has been declared in this instance is predictable.
The mudslinging has started, but the most pertinent thing to be said thus far could be found in Brad Pitt’s short statement in response to the breaking news a little earlier this week.
‘What matters most now is the well-being of our kids,’ he said, going on to use the word ‘challenging’ to describe the path that lies ahead for the couple’s six children. For anyone who has experienced separation and/or divorce themselves, it will have been a statement that struck a chord.
Far from the Hollywood circuit, unseen by (and of no interest to) the television and radio shows, websites and social media, this is a situation that is being played out time and again, the World over and on a daily basis. For families untouched by celebrity. From all backgrounds and in all walks of life.
In all of this, one thing remains constant . . .
That whenever children are involved, the challenges are immense.
Regardless of the details and the rights and the wrongs, what matters most is always the well-being of those most vulnerable.
The impact that separation/divorce has on children is often underestimated, but it is an immensely-difficult thing for young people to face.
They will be getting the best legal advice, but also we expect the best advice for their children’s wellbeing. We can predict key things that they will, or should, be told.
1. Your relationship might have come to an end, but for both adults involved, your role as parents continues and children need to be reassured that, whilst you may no longer love each other, you still love them.
It’s an important message, but one that all-too-often goes awry amidst all the upheaval and acrimony.
There are certain traps and, in our experience, parents tend to fall into more often than not . . .
2. Saying negative things and/or criticising the other parent. Just don’t do it. No matter how tempting. You are harming your children.
3. Communicating through the children. Another common mistake. Be a grown up, and communicate with the other grown up, not the children.
Children are good at picking up on bad feelings and this can cause confusion, unhappiness and, in some cases, those who are the innocent parties in all of this to blame themselves for the break-up. Talking a great deal, but failing to listen. Not realising the damage that can be done during what is a hugely-unsettling process.
This can and does lead to anxiety and cause psychological problems, both now and much further down the line, which are not to be underestimated. Make no mistake: divorce can be a destructive process that can harm children, threaten their relationships with both parents and their future partners and do untold damage to self-esteem.
It’s never easy, it’s always challenging, but with a little thought, a little care and a little restraint and responsibility, the damage inflicted on the children can be limited and the obstacles overcome.
Like Brad Pitt and innumerable others, we believe that no matter what has happened, the most important thing should always be the well-being of any children involved . . .
So – in such a situation – what should YOU do?
Take the advice outlined above, do a little research and read books on the subject (there are lots to choose from), demonstrate to the children that it is okay to talk (and that you’re prepared to listen) and, should any party feel the need to seek help or support from a source not involved directly, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Here at CPUK, we understand the issues and implications and, for children struggling to cope with divorce and its after-effects, we’re always on hand to help.
Do YOU need someone to talk to or would you like to find out more?
Please feel free to drop us a line.