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Place2Be backs The #ParentsPromise in support of children impacted by parental separation

Research published today has found that almost 9 in 10 couples (87%) have talked about how they would spend a lottery win, but just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting arrangements in the event of a separation or divorce*. This is set against a backdrop of around 280,000 children being impacted by parental separation each year, both from cohabiting relationships that break down and marriages that end in divorce.

family (mother, father and child) walking outside a house

The research marks the launch of a campaign by the Positive Parenting Alliance – of which Place2Be is a founding member. The newly formed alliance of parents, NGOs, support groups and legal sector stakeholders has the long-term aim of promoting conversation and creating change in the UK culture around divorce and separation. From one that is often adversarial and family court-based to one of greater adult communication and child-centricity.

As their first initiative, the Alliance is asking all UK parents to make The Parents Promise – a written commitment made today, whilst a couple is still together, about how they will do what’s best for the long-term wellbeing and mental health of their children, should their relationship break down in the future.

James Hayhurst, parent and founder of the Positive Parenting Alliance, said:

The Parents Promise aims to change the conversation about parental separation, both within families and in wider society. It’s based on a simple and important concept that, safeguarding concerns notwithstanding, every child has a right to a positive relationship with both parents and that no child should be asked or forced to choose between their parents.

"It’s not surprising that most couples have not had a conversation about what would happen should they split up. But, for many, it will happen. The ask is simple: open a dialogue with your partner when you are still in love - not at the point of a relationship breakdown – and make a commitment together to put your child first, whatever happens. In doing so, we hope to drive positive behavioural change whereby thousands of couples and their children, will be protected from the devastating, and often avoidable, impacts of an adversarial split."

According to recent data, 280,000 children experience their parents separating every year, with 1 in 3 of those separations going to court to resolve child arrangements. It is widely acknowledged that poorly managed separation can have a negative emotional and developmental impact on children, yet many parents avoid having difficult conversations that could help protect the mental health of their children over the longer-term.

Ongoing family tensions is one of the most common issues that children bring to Place2Be's one-to-one counselling. One nine-year-old girl told us 'Parents should put the child first. Tell the child that it's not their fault that they're splitting up.' We are proud to support The Parents' Promise, which we believe could have a powerful and long-lasting impact on the wellbeing of children across the UK and beyond. Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be

Other members of the Positive Parenting Alliance include: OnlyMums&Dads, Relate, Black Mums Upfront, Action for Happiness, Tavistock Relationships, Frolo Single Parent Community, Asian Single Parents Network CIC, FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Dad.info and more.

Show your support for The Parents Promise.

Read our advice on supporting your child through a separation or divorce

Proud to support the Parents Promise

* Online research conducted by Parent Ping in February 2021. Sample of 2,739 parents.

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