The Notebook for Separated Parents – by Seetal Missan

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One of the main areas of contention between separated couples is how they communicate about their child’s needs when they are transferring from one parent to another. One of Scott-Moncrieff’s specialist family lawyers, Seetal Missan, has a suggestion that really works for parents and children alike. 

Separated parents often find communication with their former partner a cause for tension and concern and this is multiplied when one party is unwilling to take on board anything which the other has to say.

Of course, clear communication between parents who both take care of a child (however that is split) is essential as it can affect many important areas of the child’s life, from health and school to friendship groups and behavioural issues.

It is vital that the child’s routines or requirements are met during contact.  It is also vital that both parents apply equal care to the child based on up-to-date information about the child’s needs. 

Especially in this age of social media, it is important to address without resorting to full blown arguments or nasty text messages.  The simple answer is to use a communication book.

A communication book can be used by parents to write down the latest information which relates to the child, to enable both parents or guardians to know exactly what is happening in the child’s life on a day-to-day basis.

It also enables the parent to respond to notes or confirm they have followed the guidelines left for them.  It can then be exchanged between the parents during each contact handover.

I have found in many situations that the book helps parents to communicate more easily and without antagonism, getting across what is important.  It becomes an important and trusted method of ensuring the child’s needs are communicated clearly and that both parents share the same information.

Some examples of what could be included are:

(i) Child’s routine for food, or foods they should not be given;
(ii) Medication which needs to be given during contact;
(iii) Any behavioural concerns noticed about the child;
(iv) If the child is unwell, noting when they became unwell and recording their temperature etc;
(v) Confirming items provided for the contact such as school uniform, school books, coat etc.

A communication notebook is a very good way for parents to focus on matters which relate to their children while avoiding unnecessary disputes.

If you would like further advice with regards to the notebook or with any family matter, please do not hesitate to contact Seetal Missan on 0115 923 2193.

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