Recently a co-worker came in to the office with a young boy who hasn’t had the easiest of times in his life and on this particular day a significant event had occurred.  As the worker involved had a number of things to organise and discuss with the manager, I spent some time entertaining this 5yo. It didn’t take much and we were soon engrossed with pretending to change the tyres on the toy trucks and so on, with quite a few giggles from our young guest. To be honest accessing my own inner child and engaging with a child on their level is always enjoyable for me!

It was obvious he had no desire to discuss anything heavy and under the circumstances that was perfectly fine, he didn’t need to. After a short while he peers at me and states that he remembers me. He believes I’m a woman who used to come to his school (in a totally different town) and help him. He remembered her name and the things she did. I said that this lady sounds like she was very helpful and nice to you, however, it just wasn’t me.

While we were spending time together he would get that inquiring look on his face and continued to say that I was that lady. When I tied his shoe lace for him he said “See? Don’t you remember doing this for me at my old school?”

The point to this story is that the person he is talking about is real. However it was some time ago that she had been involved in this young man’s life, yet he remembers her name and the things she did to help him, the kindness she showed.

In my job I see so many separated parents who are upset by the limited time they have with their children – and this is completely understandable. However, don’t underestimate the influence or effect the time you do spend with your child has on them. Remember a special fond memory from your own childhood. Most times it is something repetitive like, “We would always…” Other times it’s an occasional thing and that’s what made it special; “Sometimes we…” Then there memories like “Once we…”

Importantly, it’s usually what most would class as small things which people identify as the bases of warm, fond memories. Engaging and being present makes an incredible difference to a child. Don’t underestimate the influence this can have.

 

-- Carolyn, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner @ Relationships Australia Qld

** If you could like help with making arrangements and agreements following separation, please call us on 1300 364 277 to discuss your options.

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