Family and personal safety

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Broken and blended families

It is unfortunate when a family is broken up. Death can be unforseen and tragic. Separation and trial separation can be confusing. Divorce can be messy. Even if deliberately breaking up the family results in a safer environment for a child by perhaps distancing the child from abuse or a violent situation, it can still be so, so sad.

Single parenthood and child-sharing arrangements can cause grief for children or even guilt from believing it’s all their fault. Even amicable separations with equal shared-care arrangements and the best intentions can cause a lack of balance, forgetting at which house homework was left, swapping Christmases and missing family events. Worst cases may end up in family law courts, becoming very nasty and heartbreaking.

Blended families can be great. It may mean that the mother or father is happy again. There may be new siblings to play with and more family time as two parents share domestic and financial responsibilities. An extra income may relieve some stress or hardship and provide a few more opportunities or even little luxuries.

However, not every family will resemble the Brady Bunch and blended families can be difficult. Children may find it hard to adjust, especially if they have to change schools, move house or even move towns. And then on top of that they may have to share a room, toys and their previously single parent. In some cases children may not like their new siblings or step-parent, or question how their separated-natural parent will now fit into their lives. Unfortunately, some children also become disregarded in favour of other children or placed in situations of personal safety or risk.

Children, mothers and fathers can all seek counselling from a number of support groups listed to the right, as well as find out about additional support and legal rights.

Over time, we will be adding articles, lists and other resources here from various emergency services to enable people to be as prepared as possible for any emergency situation. Please subscribe to our e-News below to stay up to date.

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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Children's Guide acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waters and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.