SADSA | The South African Divorce Support Association is not just about divorce. SADSA is first and foremost about “Family”.

Whether biological or not, a family is a unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for.

Michael J. Fox said: “A family is not an important thing, it’s everything”. And so should it be.

When families are in distress, because the adults in the family no longer want to stay together, they need to remember that, to their children, they will always be their family.

Families who are facing changes need to consider the impact of their circumstances on their family unit and how it will affect how they “care for” their children.

Unlike most animals, children are dependent on their parents until at least they are legally adults. This means that for 18 years, parents have a huge role and many responsibilities towards their children and it actually just doesn’t stop then and there.

When parents, co-parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, same sex parents…any parents, feel that the solution to their family is to separate, it means moving on separately for the greater good of the family, not to tear down that family.

Parents who separate are not removed from their ability to “Care for” their children, they only need to modify some aspects of the day to day routine. Granted, some changes can be considerable, such as selling the “Family” home, finding a job for a parent who was a stay at home parent, review the financial situation because two adults who shared everything now need to take responsibility for their own expenses etc. But all of these points are grown up points which the parents need to take responsibility for while still “Caring for” their children.

Although children need to be discussed when parents separate, children are not part of the problem.

Children have no choice in their situation changing but to trust that their parents are going to consider what is best for their “Family”.

Breaking up is one thing. Breaking your children’s “Family” is another.

~ Nadia Thonnard

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