Parenting is always difficult. If you’re trying to do it on your own, or as a contact parent, or step-parent, or following family breakdown or the start of a step-family, it can be daunting and draining. You don’t need to be a perfect parent. None of us are.

Children don’t need perfect parents – they need ‘good enough’ parents. ‘Good enough’ parenting is about parents giving children the basics (security, warmth, affection, understanding) as well as practical necessities such as housing, food and personal care. Children will thrive if they receive these basics because they’re being provided by people who love them and to whom they have a strong attachment – even if those people aren’t always perfect. In other words, it is the overall relationship that counts, not any isolated moment or period of time.

Sometimes, when there’s a lot of change or difficulty, your children might need extra care to make them feel safe and secure. In this way they’ll grow into confident, self-assured adults who can manage life’s problems. This is a long-term aim and sometimes it’s hard, for both parent and child, to adapt in the short term. Our staff specialise in parenting, children and family separation. This means they understand children’s innermost needs and have the skills to help them enjoy a close relationship with their parents. These techniques can be useful for all those involved with children, including grandparents, childminders and teachers. Parenting after separation can be affected by several things, including how much conflict exists between parents, money, court proceedings, the support systems that a parent or child has access to (such as community resources, family and friends) and access to information.

High levels of parental conflict and distress can result in parents spending less quality time with their children, relaxing rules, become inconsistent, and struggling to protect children from their own feelings. Because you are stressed, it might be that you shout more often, or overlook disciplining your children. You may experience less support from family and the community than you had before you separated.

If you’re finding it difficult please remember it can be even harder for your children. Contact with both parents is every child’s right, and it is set down in British law that this contact should cease only if it would be harmful to the child for it to continue. It is conflict within separation that causes damage to children and so Pro-Contact works with all families to find an arrangement that balances the need for contact with any risk of harm.