Helping children feel heard in divorce

An example of how one-page profiles can be used with parents and children to overcome family issues that have resulted from the separation of mum and dad.

Sophie's one-page profile

Sophie’s one-page profile

Written by Sue Atkins, Parenting Expert

Sophie’s ex Gary had a new girlfriend and the kids didn’t like her. They didn’t want her staying over when they were with their dad and this was making Gary unhappy. This was a difficult time for Sophie. She felt trapped, coping with her own emotional issues about this as well as trying to support her children.  She needed clarity, direction and confidence in handling this particular issue.

Sophie came to see me in my office and we worked on building her one-page profile. Our first aim was to give her back her confidence and self esteem – we then looked at ways to support her first and once that was agreed we looked at ways of approaching the sleepover issues and the kids not liking their Dad’s new girlfriend.

It was important that when the girls joined us on the next session that they were relaxed and comfortable so we did this around my kitchen table keeping it informal and friendly.

We created one-page profiles with the girls with arts and crafts. The profiles we bright, colourful and 3D which is what they wanted and as we had music as we spoke so the whole experience felt fun and uplifting.

Then we looked at what the kids wanted to see happen. Both the girls came up with really wonderful ideas by themselves. This is why the one-page profile is so good to use with children; it helps them to feel heard, understood and part of the process.

We agreed that they would put their ideas into practice over the coming week and report back on how it went. This gave us the opportunity to discuss new issues, tweak our approach and talk about new approaches.  We did this over the period of a month.  At times it was challenging to get it all to work – but we got there in the end and everyone felt more relaxed.

I believe that one-page profiles yield massive results over time. In this particular case, the family kept tweaking and adjusting the ideas, the ways they behaved, the way Mum spoke about Dad and the new girlfriend. Despite Dad not being fully on board with the process, the kids and Mum carved out their own solutions to that particular issue. Now we are working on a few of the others using the same one-page profile process.