Parents have feelings too
My parent split up when I was about 9 years old. I can remember being slightly surprised (we were lucky enough to never see them argue). We sat down as a family while my parents told us - my brother (who would have been 7 at the time) was extremely upset that my dad would be moving out, but I didn't really understand his feelings because I didn't seem to have a bond with our dad like he did.
Soon after my dad moved into my nan's house. We would see him a couple of times in the week and stay over every other weekend. I am now 22 and I can (strangely to some!) see that them splitting up was the best thing that ever happened. My dad re-married a wonderful lady who I proudly refer to as my second mum, and I have a step-sister who I love as much as my actual brother. My mum is with a fantastic man who makes her feel like the world and loves us all. My parents get on better than they ever did when I was a child and my mum even attended my dad and step-mum's wedding!
My advice to children is to remember that your parents are people with their own feelings too - as much as they spend their entire lives trying to do the best for you, they need to be happy too. How can they take the best care of you if there is chaos in their home and in their heart?
Realise your bond with each parent could develop in ways you never expected - you'll get to spend one-on-one time with each of them. You may even be lucky enough to have new members join your family like I was - to have 4 parents is amazing after all and I had two siblings to play with! Even though things may seem difficult to adjust to with changes happening around you, know that it will all be okay in the end and that it is never your fault if your parents separate.
My advice to parents is to never argue in front of your children. Be as neutral as you can in front of your children i.e. at parents’ evenings. Show that you can both be sensible and polite to each other even though you may have your differences. Never, ever, bad mouth your ex in front of your child, no matter what they have done - it will create unnecessary conflict in your child's mind - they will feel like they need to pick a side and shouldn't have to when it isn't their fight.
Whenever possible (excluding emergencies of course) stick to the plans you make that involve your children. Lastly, (to the parent who may not live with their children anymore) make the most of your time with the child or children when it's your turn to see them - your children will remember the fun things you did together and be grateful for the effort you made when they think back in the future.
Photo: CameliaTWU. Creative Commons.