Written by Sue Atkins
I am a Parenting Expert, Writer, Speaker, Broadcaster, Parenting Coach and a mum! I’ve used one-page profiles in my work for many years and with my own family and can’t rave enough about their usefulness for improving communication, relationships, a child’s self esteem and self confidence
More recently I have been using one-page profiles to help children and families going through the often challenging and traumatic experience of a divorce as well as working with children whose parents have separated, experiencing all of the changes that this can bring; from living in two different homes, splitting their time between mum and dad, moving schools, to experiencing lots of changing routines,
This is a subject very close to my heart as more than a year ago my ex husband and I started divorce proceedings. I discovered via Facebook that he was having an inappropriate relationship with another woman which came as quite a shock! We had been married for 21 years and had brought up two wonderful children and shared a full life together. But as I tell my clients, divorce is a process not an event and over time you begin to see the opportunities that change can open up for you.
My children are grown up now but many of the parents that I work with have younger children and they come to me because they understand that divorce is life changing and that whilst the adults are making the decisions the children can be left feeling like everything that they knew is different, leading to feelings of powerlessness, insecurity and isolation. By using one-page profiles with families going through divorce we are able to uncover what is working and not working from the child’s perspective, what is important to them and for them and what support they need during this time. It puts the child at the centre of the decision making and brings back the focus to them so that their voices are heard above the noise of a relationship break-up.
I use one-page profiles with parents too before we sit down with the children. Supporting mum or dad to feel empowered and in control is critical to their wellbeing and therefore their ability to support their children through divorce. The more I work with families and see the results that one-page profiles can have, the more I would like to see them being used more frequently with children whose parents are getting divorce. Perhaps it is a service that divorce solicitors could offer to their clients to help their children process this life changing event? What if all schools used them and were able to help a child communicate their feelings through their profile when things are difficult at home? I often think about how we can get this resource out there to as many people as possible so that they too can experience its benefits and feel happier and better supported because of it.
I know first-hand that one-page profiles can be invaluable to keeping communication flowing and reminding us all about what is important and to whom during divorce and I’m just glad that more people are going to hear about them through this blog. Here are, in my opinion, the top 5 benefits for using one-page profiles in divorce:
- It puts the child at the centre of the divorce, ahead of the emotions of the parents, ahead of any disagreements and firmly at the heart of all decision making.
- It can make a child feel listened to at a time when their voice could be lost amidst the noise, drama and pain of a relationship break-up.
- It helps parents gain clarity; direction and confidence about what mum and dad need to do to support their child in the way they want to feel supported through all the changes.
- It gives children and parents who use one-page profiles a sense of choice and control at a time of extreme change.
- Because of the way a one-page profile is structured , the information is so simple, quick and easy to digest it can be shown to school, other family members and friends so that people outside of the immediate family can contribute to supporting the child during the divorce process.
Sue Atkins is a spokesperson for one-page profiles because she believes in their value and would like to see more people learn about and be able to use the tool in their own life. If you would like to learn more about Sue Atkins and the work she does with families please visit her website.