When we read statistics of the epidemic proportions of family breakdown and that it is now the ‘norm’ to be separated in one form or another, it is essential that we don’t lose sight of the people who are at the heart of this turmoil, the children.

I do think that  now and in the future we are looking at a totally different form of family life, the 2 adults plus children all living together is in my opinion, sadly, a thing of the past.

I am one of the lucky ones, we have been married for over 43 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Children should always be put first, at all times but it is so important if Mum and Dad decide to separate. Children will often blame themselves, and think it is something they have down that has caused the break up. They find themselves hearing bad things about one of their parents, they suddenly become a confidante to an other, when all they want is for Mum and Dad to be happy and for both of their parents to love them, just the same as they always did.

It seems that some adults become so entrenched in their own anger and bitterness that can’t see what effect it has on the children.

All children need role models, people the can look up to and want to be like, and their parents should be those role models.

Everyone learns from their parents as soon as we are born, and so if we have experienced harsh words, bullying, violence in the home we learn that it is a perfectly acceptable way to behave.

It isn’t.

I sat and listened recently to a family, who were totally out of control, the foul language coming from Mum was repeated by their 7 year old child, it got louder and louder and more and more physical. Almost inevitably it ended in a violent hit and a child breaking their heart.

That child has learnt to behave in the same way as their Mum and Dad and history will repeat itself when they have children of their own.

I have written about a ‘cultural shift’ many times before, but it is the only way that this never ending circle of destruction will stop.

We all have to become educators  in teaching children the responsibilities that go with having children, nothing to do with rights, but responsibilities.

The responsibility to care, love and look out for children they may have in the future. The responsibility to put them first, whatever may happen between their adult relationships, to always listen to the children and to do what is the right thing.

Allow them a continuing relationship with all of their family members, to be able to have those great role models to look up to.

Maybe we need sometimes to look at ourselves and ask the question, “Am I a good role model?”

Jane