A campaign to change how we view co-parenting post separation.

I’m proud that Eximo Marketing has been part of the Positive Parenting Alliance, a coalition of over 20 children’s mental health charities, separated parenting groups, relationship charities and other invested stakeholders working pro-bono to create a positive change.

The PPA has created The Parents Promise a campaign to better protect children affected by family separation.

The stats around parental separation are awful. Hundreds of thousands of children are impacted by separation each year in he UK and hopefully this campaign will help start to change the discussion.

Andi Jarvis

The Parents Promise

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children in the event of separation

LONDON, 13 MAY 2021: Research revealed today has found that almost 9 in 10 couples (87%) have talked about how they would spend a lottery win, but just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting arrangements in the event of a separation or divorce. This is set against a backdrop of around 280,000 children being impacted by parental separation each year, both from cohabiting relationships that break down and marriages that end in divorce.

parent promise lottery stat

The research marks the launch of a campaign by the Positive Parenting Alliance – a newly-formed alliance of parents, NGOs, support groups and legal sector stakeholders – with the long-term aim of promoting conversation and a change in the UK culture around divorce and separation.  From one that is often adversarial and family court-based, to one of greater adult communication and child-centricity.

As their first initiative the Alliance is asking all UK parents to make The Parents Promise – a commitment made today, whilst a couple is still together, about how they will do what’s best for the long-term wellbeing and mental health of their children, should their relationship break down in the future. 

Founder and parent James Hayhurst comments: “The Parents Promise aims to change the conversation about parental separation, both within families and in wider society. It’s based on a simple and important concept that, safeguarding concerns notwithstanding, every child has a right to a positive relationship with both parents and that no child should be asked or forced to choose between their parents.”

“It’s not surprising that most couples have not had a conversation about what would happen should they split up. But, for many, it will happen. The ask is simple: open a dialogue with your partner when you are still in love – not at the point of a relationship breakdown – and make a commitment together to put your child first, whatever happens. In doing so, we hope to drive positive behavioural change whereby thousands of couples and their children, will be protected from the devastating, and often avoidable, impacts of an adversarial split.”

According to recent data, 280,000 children experience their parents separating every year, with 1 in 3 of those separations going to court to resolve child arrangements[1]. It is widely acknowledged that poorly managed separation can have a negative emotional and developmental impact on children, yet many parents avoid having difficult conversations that could help protect the mental health of their children over the longer-term, should they separate.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Angharad Rudkin adds: “Research has shown that negative consequences for children after poorly-handled divorce include decreased academic achievement, poor psychological adjustment, social and emotional adjustment, and negative self-concept[2]. In fact, it’s a major reason for children accessing counselling services”

“Their physical health is compromised, too, especially in situations of high conflict[3]. For this impact to be reduced, communication is key. In one study[4], a quarter of children whose parents had separated said that no one had talked to them about the separation, leaving them feeling confused and distressed[5].

Beyond the emotional costs, the annual cost to the taxpayer of family breakdown is estimated to stand at £51bn (2018 figures), up from £37bn ten years ago.[6] The Positive Parenting Alliance insists families would benefit greatly from the widespread availability of much earlier interventions and support, including mediation and arbitration where necessary, instead of prolonged, unaffordable and adversarial family court proceedings that put vulnerable families at even greater risk.

Bob Greig & Rebecca Giraud, OnlyMums&Dads stated “The coming together of all organisations in the Alliance around the idea of the Parents Promise is a demonstration of the real need for cultural change in the arena of family separation. The wellbeing of children is the highest common factor for all the work done by the individuals and groups within the Alliance, and there is a real determination to see these changes through.”

Joanne Edwards, Family Lawyer and Mediator at Forsters LLP comments: “It is a common misconception that there is no such thing as a good divorce or separation. In fact, for most couples, court does not need to be the default. Often, the problem is that parents are having discussions right at the point of separation, when emotions are raw and the needs of the children can become lost in parental conflict.

“This is why a simple tool like the Parents Promise is so powerful.  Having a conversation before the point of break up can act as a helpful reminder later down the line that these two people were, and remain, loving parents first and foremost. Whilst a relationship can be ended, a commitment to be a parent is lifelong.”

For more information, to support the initiative and make the Parents Promise today, visit: https://theparentspromise.org.uk/.

[1] Family Solutions Group 2020[1]

[2] Amato P. The consequences of divorce for adults and children. Journal of Marriage and the Family 2000;62;1269-1287.

[3] El-Sheikh ME, Cummings M, Kouros CD, Elmore-Staton L, Buckhalt J. Marital psychological and physical aggression and children’s mental and physical health: Direct, mediated and moderated effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2008:76(1):138-148

[4] Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) study

[5] Dunn, J. and Deater-Deckard, K. (2001) Children’s Views of their Changing Families. York:

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

[6] https://relationshipsfoundation.org/publications/pressreleases/cost-family-failure-2018-update