What is the Parents Promise?
The Parents Promise campaign launched in May 2021 on Channel4, and was created by a group of charities, experts and companies who want to reduce the negative impact that divorce and separation can have on children.
The Parents Promise aims to spark a conversation and shine a light on the importance of parents talking about what would happen if their relationship came to an end. This proactive approach may feel pessimistic but research reveals that 87% of people have planned what they'd do if they won the lottery...but only 5% have discussed how co-parenting would work if they separated.
The reality is, relationship breakdowns are not going away. Every year 42% of marriages ends in divorce and around 280,000 children in the UK see/experience their parents separate. As a society we therefore need to get better at ending relationships and protecting the children involved.
Why amicable supports the Parents Promise
The charity Fegans shared that the primary reason for children being referred to counselling were due to the effect their parents split had on them. Research shows that it's not the divorce or break-up that negatively affects children, it's the way that parents handle it that matters. At amicable, we've helped thousands of parents to separate and have seen the transformative, positive impact that prioritising goals for the future and ensuring conversations and plans are child-centric.
It is so important to understand the potential emotional and physical reactions children and teens can have trying to understand separation and divorce. Not only how it will affect them short term but also longer term. Stability and attachment are well recognised as major factors in helping kids thrive.
Here are some topics that you can use to start the conversation:
- How can we reduce conflict and acrimony between us? We have lots of advice on how to do this.
- How can we protect our children from any conflict and disagreements between us? E.g. agreeing to not talk in derogatory terms about each other in front of our children.
- How can we help our children to process the separation and change it will trigger?
- How to provide emotional support to build resilience?
- How do we ensure that they feel heard and that their voice, concerns and opinions matter?
We believe that the Parents Promise is an important and necessary campaign, and relevant to all the phases of relationships and parenting whether you're planning to have children, parents in a happy relationship, divorcing with kids or already separated. We've broken down how the Parents Promise can be harnessed in each of these scenarios:
We're in a happy relationship and we have kids or we want to have children in the future
Have the conversation about what would happen if you end up separating one day. It may be uncomfortable and nobody likes talking about worst-case scenarios but we believe preempting what might happen can help take the sting out of the situation if it does sadly happen. Here are the sorts of questions you can use to start the conversation.
- What are our joint goals and ambitions for our children?
- What are our behavioral expectations of each other?
- How would we protect our children from any negativity between us?
Imagining key life moments in the future can help, for example, “If we separate, we want to be in a good enough place that we are able to attend parents evenings together”.
We are separating and have kids
The Parents Promise is a brilliant way to set the tone of your future co-parenting relationship. Asking yourself these questions is a good place to start:
- How do we tell them that we’re separating? Read our guide on telling your children you're divorcing here.
- How can we reassure our children that they don’t need to pick sides?
- How can we ensure moving forward we can continue a loving committed parental relationship with them?
- How will we share their care and ensure they spend quality time with us both?
- How will we approach introducing new partners?
We've already separated and have kids
It's never too late to re-frame your conversations and by signing the promise you can refocus on what's important.
This is a way of reaffirming your commitment to maintaining an ongoing, involved and loving parental relationship
How to sign up to the Parents Promise and find out more
To find out more about the campaign and to sign the pledge, click here. It’s important to note that signing the Parents Promise isn’t legally binding or contractual, it is a commitment to each other and to your children/future children that you will always do your absolute best to put their wellbeing and needs first.
amicable's new co-parenting app helps parents to reduce acrimony and confusion as they co-parent post-split. The app was designed by co-parents and includes beautifully designed tools that help co-parents to stay organised, on-track and on the same page. Co-parenting isn't easy but this app makes it simpler, and gives you back the time to focus on what's important: your children.
Download the app and start your 30-day free trial to explore all the advice and features.
Download our free parenting planning template.
Browse our blogs on co-parenting for more information.