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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Emotional Support

It is not uncommon for separation and divorce to be a life shattering experience, so if you feel that way, you are not alone. Everything that you care about, including the relationship with your children, your financial status, your ability to function at work and your health can be put at risk through prolonged proceedings.

Try to think of ways to help yourself continue to be able to function under these extremely difficult circumstances. Try to do things that you know are good for you and stay healthy. This will help your children, because they need you to be well. If you feel sad and angry, which is totally normal, try to find ways to deal with this. Find people you can talk to or ways to express your anger and sadness. Maybe going to the gym will help, but do whatever will help you.

One of the most important things to realise is that we are here for you. We have a helpline which you can call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day on 0300 0330 363 and we have branch meetings across the country.

For online support you can sign up to FNF's online forum, open to our members. You can share your story, hear others and receive support and advice from our other members. For more information about the online forum and the many other benefits of FNF membership please click here.

You can also access DSG's local counselling support groups, provided by trained psychotherapists, on 0844 800 9098 www.divorcesupportgroup.co.uk.

If there is something you don’t understand please call the National Helpline on 0300 0300 363.

We are keen to hear from you about how you cope, which might help others in the future. If you would like to add to this page, if you have found a website of real help, or you have read a book which you would like others to enjoy, please e-mail admin@fnf.org.uk.

Health and mental well-being

Anxiety and low mood

Anxiety and low mood are common after family breakups. This is distressing but normal and will settle with adjusting to the new situation. Having said that, times of divorce or separation are bound to have an impact on your emotional and mental well-being.
In order for you to keep on going and because your children need you to be there for them, do find a source of help, sooner rather than later.

The first port of call is your GP. They will be able to offer you support with regards to the emotional impact of separation and divorce. They can make an assessment if you require a referral for counselling or to the well-being team. They may also advise taking a course of medication should this be required.

Do try to find understanding sources of support - family, friends or other people within FNF, who will help you through the journey ahead. If you require professional support it is important that you get it. Professionals are obliged to maintain confidentiality in a way that other people might not.

“After I split up with my girlfriend, I felt jittery and I suffered with a lack of confidence”
“I was isolated and I couldn’t sleep”

If you are feeling anxious or low your GP can help, or click here for NHS Direct.

Feeling anxious?

Suggested links:


www.livinglifetothefull.com
http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.sane.org.uk/AboutMentalIllness/Anxiety

Feeling low?

Suggested links:


http://www.separatedfamilies.info/families/about-you/taking-good-care-of-yourself/
http://www.mind.org.uk/
http://samaritans.org.uk/
www.counselling-directory.org.uk - the purpose of the site is ultimately to provide the UK with a huge counselling support network, enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them and appropriate for their needs. This is a free, confidential service that will hopefully encourage those in distress to seek help.

Can't sleep?

Suggested links:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/mentalhealthproblems/sleepproblems/sleepingwell.aspx
www.menshealth.co.uk/chatroom/topic/370565

Feeling angry?

Suggested links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/mental_health/coping_angermanagement1.shtml

http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/anger.html

end faq

Drugs & Alcohol

Looking after yourself

After a family break-up, it can be tempting to stop looking after yourself, and to turn to alcohol or drugs. But they do have negative effects.

“I started drinking bottles of wine a night”
“Cannabis was the only thing that would get me to sleep”

If you are suffering with these problems it is a good idea to go and speak to your GP.

Suggested links:

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/?gclid=CJTY8_LthZ4CFcGAzAodOTcDqg
http://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/Support-Groups/Addictions/Drink-Aware.html

 

Keeping Fit

Eating well

Meal times can be especially painful, but it’s always important to eat well and drink a lot of water.

“Meal times are the hardest”

Easy and healthy food recipes

Suggested links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/
http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/

Keeping Fit

Try to fit some exercise into your day as this may help you too. It may be the last thing on your mind but is worth trying.

“I felt going to the gym helped, it cleared my mind”

Suggested links:


http://www.need2know.co.uk/health/keeping_fit/article.html/id=310
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/fitness/

 

Personal relationships

New relationships

After divorce and separation you can often feel wary of starting relationships with new people. There are no rules as to when you should or should not start a new relationship. Sometimes new relationships can have an impact on your parenting arrangements and your children might feel upset by this new development. Remember to be sensitive to the fact that children might take some time to get used to a new person in your life, but you should not feel guilty for this and try and make sure you reassure them that you love them just the same. It is crucial to spend some special parent time alone with your children.

If you are a member of FNF you can receive some good feedback from other members on our forum or through our local contact list. Other people have gone through the same situations as you – it really is good to talk.

Changing relationships

After separation and divorce your relationships with family members and friends can change. Some for the better with renewed bonds, but some relationships can be tested. Sometimes you can feel that nobody understands how bad it is. If you are feeling this way please pick up the phone to our helpline, go to a branch meeting or get on our members forum.
What you are feeling is normal, and many others have felt the same way. You may feel alone, but talking to others may reassure you that you are not alone and FNF is here to support you.

 

Time management

What can I do?

Depending on your own resilience it can sometimes take as long as a couple of years, or more, before any change starts to become your new ‘normal’.

Nevertheless, what do you do in the meantime? When we focus on personal emotional problems time has a habit of slowing down. What will be a great help is to try and put some structure into your days, even when it may not be necessary. Try planning for the next day the night before, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go to plan. Try and recognise the small achievements. The point is: at least you tried to have a structure to your day, which may help it flow more easily.

Some people find that volunteering helps bring structure to their week, to volunteer with FNF call 0300 0300 110 or e-mail admin@fnf.org.uk.

You could also contact your local CVS for more information about voluntary groups in your area.

 

Work life

Are you struggling?

Separation and divorce can also have an effect on your work, productivity and your performance can sometimes slump. Understandably, as your thoughts are else where. Some of our members have not been able to continue working, but some have thrown themselves into their work. There is no one size that fits all. Try and speak to your employer. Sometimes employers can be very understanding, they might have even gone through it themselves. Or sometimes, they are not so sympathetic. This can depend on the size of the company you work, for example. People who are self-employed often find it particularly difficult.

Try and speak to somebody if you are struggling to cope and if you can let your employer know what is going on. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer, please get in touch with our helpline 0300 0330 363.

It might also help to read our time management section and our financial problems section.

 

Trauma

Sharing

When someone has suffered trauma of any sort, it is advisable to share these feelings with someone who is able to help. Often your doctor will have a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) attached to their practice who can help even if you don’t want anti-depressants. Many therapists or counsellors in private practice can help but it is important you check their qualifications and most importantly that you feel comfortable with them.

 

Talking to your children

Do you find it difficult to talk to your children?

It can be difficult to know what to say to your children based on their age and their own grasp of the situation. Rather than focus on talking to them you could try asking them if they have any questions they want answering. Letting them talk will give you a greater understanding of what they feel which will help you respond to their needs. Helping them cope will also help you cope. If they don’t feel comfortable asking questions, you can try “what do you think about…?” “How do you feel about?” “What would you like?”

Often children can feel anger, upset, confusion and sadness and you may struggle with how best to talk to your child or deal with their behaviour. Their feelings and needs can be expressed through their behaviour, which on the surface can just seem like they are misbehaving or being difficult. It is also worth considering that their anger may surface some years later when they approach teenage years when their body and hormones are changing and they start to develop relationships for themselves. Children can often compare their ideas of what makes a happy relationship with what they have experienced, and get angry or confused.

If you need any support call our helpline on 0300 0300 363.

 

Financial Problems

Financial support

Divorce and separation is expensive. If you have financial problems one excellent source of help is your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau: more details at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/. It is best to communicate early with any of your creditors, in an effort to reach agreement with them about a sensible and affordable way for you to repay your debt. For further advice, see the Money Advice Service.


If you are struggling with child maintenance payments visit http://www.cmoptions.org/ or call our helpline on 0300 0300 363 or contact www.nacsa.org.uk.

If you need debt advice you could visit the website of the Debt Advice Foundation

 

Suggested Books and Organisations

You might find these helpful

Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert

Overcoming Anxiety by Helen Kennerly

Overcoming Low Self Esteem by Melanie Fennell

The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams

The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

 


FNF_Media Our Central London branch meeting tonight has moved to The Penderel's Oak, High Holborn, WC1V 7HS. More details here: http://t.co/rXqnvqrNjy
FNF_Media @Familoo @SVPhillimore More data on what happens in cases once they leave the courtroom would be really valuable, in this area in particular
FNF_Media @SVPhillimore @Familoo Yes, we will look to post a summary of the day and this is one of the aspects that will be covered in a workshop.
FNF_Media RT @fatherhoodinst: Why it's time to Bring Fathers In...please read and share our new blog #bringingfathersin http://t.co/ciIlFpZ7aF
FNF_Media A big thank you to Sir James Munby, our workshop hosts and all the attendees at our AGM yesterday for a really interesting, engaging event!
FNF_Media RT @StoweFamilyLaw: Legal aid skewing family courts, says senior judge http://t.co/ddW8KYmSB9
FNF_Media RT @drsue2014: @fps_cic @FNF_Media @matchmothers Rejected, alienated or estranged - peer support can help. http://t.co/O8LSdl7oIu
FNF_Media RT @ullainoxford: @FNF_Media Please get in touch if interested! V v keen to include dads' experiences. ulla.raisanen@phc.ox.ac.uk thank you
FNF_Media RT @cmoptions: We can help dad's too to make informed decisions about child maintenance arrangements - see http://t.co/Uyvy5N7b46 for more …
FNF_Media Further coverage of Sir James Munby's speech at the FNF AGM in Family Law Week @familylawweek : http://t.co/jleELNRFT3
FNF_Media Ever used mediation, or considering starting? You could help with research to improve services: http://t.co/pLOKRssBtT @Innovation_Unit
FNF_Media Legal aid procedures causing problems for the Family Court, according to President of the Family Division: http://t.co/84MH3oGTLw
FNF_Media Need guidance or support about seeing your children after separation? Find details for our December meetings here: http://t.co/rXqnvqrNjy
FNF_Media Could any dads help with a study on experiences of looking after children when they are ill? More details here: http://t.co/KS56TsxYjy
FNF_Media RT @TIPSLtd: @BickiepegsCo @FNF_Media @elainehanzak The National Parent Guide can now be accessed online at:http://t.co/3Tlfq0YlBT http://t…
FNF_Media Coping with Separation: FNF article in the latest edition of the National Parent Guide (page 92-93) @TIPSLtd http://t.co/oVnwdZPCwU
FNF_Media RT @MissJoEdwards: At the start of @ResFamilyLaw DR week #abetterway "@TimesLaw: Revealed: shocking cost of divorce for children http://t.c…
FNF_Media "I know how 'Kafkaesque' the Family Court can be" - http://t.co/yZiySUIeci
FNF_Media The full transcript of Sir James Munby's speech to the Families Need Fathers AGM is now available on our website: http://t.co/qBp9F4x9n7
FNF_Media RT @fatherhoodinst: Reach out to dads & boost child outcomes via #bringingfathersin http://t.co/nzoyypI0Jt Pls RT @fnforg @fnf_bpm_cymru @F

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

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Upcoming Events

22/12/2014 Mon: London Central Meeting
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