relationship breakdown and loss for children
Every child’s experience of relationship breakdown and bereavement will be unique but it can sometimes cause intense emotional distress. They are likely to experience a sense of grief, a lack of control and uncertainty about the future and how they will cope with the inevitable changes in their lives. This can have an impact on their behaviour and academic performance.
They will need support, access to honest information and should be encouraged to ask questions and have their voice heard. Schools need to be able to help their students navigate the psychological, emotional, and logistical changes that relationship breakdown and bereavement brings to their lives.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SCHOOLS
Schools need to provide a stable and supportive environment for children, a place where routine and order exists when everything at home might be in turmoil.
Schools will need to have effective pastoral care programmes developed to ensure children feel safe, happy, involved and able to perform to their potential by putting their needs first. Pastoral care requires schools to have experts trained in safeguarding, bullying and mental health as well as the very specific issues relating to the effects that divorce, separation and bereavement can have on a child. It is unlikely that this training and support can be delivered purely in-house.
HOW WE CAN HELP
My Life Collective can work with a school to develop a bespoke support programme. We have an extensive network of exceptional professional Associates who specialise in all areas of relationship breakdown and loss relating to children and young people.
We can also work with parents, particularly those experiencing a high conflict separation, to ensure everyone works together to provide a child-centric approach and to encourage cooperative co-parenting.
Please get in touch to discuss how we can help your school make an enormous difference to a child who is suffering.
No-one knows exactly how many children are bereaved each year. Data is collected on the number of children affected by the divorce of their parents, but not on the number affected by the death of a parent. However, bereavement in children and young people is more frequent than many people think
- Every 22 minutes a parent of dependent children dies in the UK.
- Up to 70% of schools have a bereaved pupil on their roll at any given time.
- 92% of young people will experience a significant bereavement before the age of 16 years.
This is why it is vital that teachers and staff understand how to support driving children and young people in their school.
In 2013, the last year in which data on the numbers of divorces in which the couple had children was collected, almost half of divorces (48%) involved children less than 16 years. (Office of National Statistics).
‘It is critical to recognise that children are at risk of harm when parents separate. Family breakdown is a time of great vulnerability and research has consistently shown that unresolved parental conflict is harmful to children. Destructive inter-parental conflict affects children of all ages, across infancy, childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood. The way in which parents communicate with each other impacts children’s long-term mental health and future life chances’.
A 123 Page Report of the Family Solutions Group. November 2020.