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One of the keys to a better version of you, mentally and physically, is sleeping well. We want all of our industry members to sleep as well as they can that’s why EIC have partnered with Sleepstation. Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you learn how to control and optimise your sleep to get the best sleep possible. Designed by experts and backed by science, the online service is proven to combat even the most severe insomnia. Their team will help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problem and provide the personal support and guidance needed to improve your sleep. Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch and that's what makes it so effective. Therapeutic support through Sleepstation is available to those in need and meeting our charity eligibility criteria.

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Looking after our relationships are vital to maintaining positive overall wellbeing. The electrical and energy sector has a divorce rate of 69.8% and the Electrical Industries Charity want to help us to nurture and repair relationships to help our sector have better relationships.

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Everyone's relationships are unique. But sometimes we face similar issues.
Whatever you're going through in your relationship, it can be comforting to know that you're not alone. Here are some practical tips to help you with the most common relationship problems.

My partner and I don't talk any more - it feels as if we've drifted apart. How can I improve communication with my partner?
Set aside time to talk when you will not be interrupted. Take it in turns to have airtime - some people find setting a timer for five minutes, one speaking while the other listens, then reversing the process, can create a space for each to talk without interruption. Tell your partner how you felt, feel or will be feeling about something without blaming them. This can be tricky, but it is a very useful way of owning your feelings. Plan to go together somewhere that provides an environment you both find relaxing e.g. a walk in the park, a drink at a pub or a coffee when you're shopping, etc. Remember that communication isn't all verbal. Consider what your body language communicates to your partner about what you're both saying. Don't be surprised if there isn't an improvement straight away - you wouldn't expect to dance the salsa after only one attempt, would you?

I can't seem to stop arguing with my partner. What can we do?
Arguments are common in relationships. Some degree of conflict can even be healthy, as it means both people are expressing themselves, rather than keeping everything inside and letting emotions fester. But if you’re arguing all the time, or simple disagreements end up in a hostile silence or screaming match, it can really start to take a toll on things – or even leave you wondering whether you’re all that compatible in the first place.

Learning ways to handle disagreements constructively is crucial in any relationship. 
We always say: conflict is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that counts. It can be useful to think of an argument like an onion. The outer layer is what you're speaking about, while the deeper layers beneath represent the issues beneath this. In other words, sometimes what we argue about is only a symptom of what's going wrong, not the cause. For example, Sam gets into an argument with his partner about whether they do their fair share of the household chores. On the surface, the argument may seem to be about something small, but it could also tap into wider feelings about how well supported Sam feels in the relationship generally. It may also remind him of other situations when he has felt let down and unsupported by other people in his life. For Sam’s partner, the argument may tap into deeper worries about how controlling they feel Sam can be. 

If you find you and your partner argue frequently, or about the same kinds of things a lot, it can be a good idea to think about what’s really causing the conflict. Are you arguing about what you think you’re arguing about – or are there other things going on the relationship that frustrate or worry you? You may want to consider other influences too: have there been any recent changes in your lives that may have put extra pressure on either of you? This could be something like a bereavement, starting a new family, moving to a new house, financial problems, work pressures or just a reaching a relationship milestone such as reaching a big birthday. Maybe you have been spending less quality time together than before? Has there been an incident that one or both of you is struggling to get over? Did you use to argue less? And if so, why do you think that is? Seeing past your emotions and trying to look at the wider context of the situation can be a great way of getting to the bottom of what’s going on.

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If you and your partner are having trouble resolving a difference in opinion, you might like to consider the following:

  • Talk things over - properly: 
    It’s an obvious one, but bears saying: if you’re having a disagreement, talk it over. Listen to what each other has to say. And that means really listening – not just waiting for your turn to speak. When it comes to explaining your own position, speak calmly, openly, and honestly. Don’t attack your partner’s ideas, simply stick to what it is that you think e.g. using “I think/feel ...”. It may be that, after talking things through, you realise you aren’t quite as opposed as you thought – or that one member of the couple relaxes their view a little. At any rate, making sure you understand each other’s opinions properly gives you a much surer footing from which to move forward.
  • Try to see where they’re coming from: 
    You may be able to understand your partner’s opinion better if you try to understand the reasons behind it. Perhaps they grew up in a very different environment or received a different kind of education to you. Perhaps they’ve been influenced by family members or friends. And it may be worth doing the same for your own opinion – do you hold your beliefs because they simply make the most sense, or could other factors be at play too? 
  • Find the common ground:
    Even if your ideas are different, it’s likely that you agree on certain key things – after all, it’s unlikely you’d have any interest in each other if you were completely opposed on every level! Don’t just focus on the differences at play: recognise that there are plenty of areas for which you have common ground too.
  • Don’t force things:
    It isn’t healthy to try to impose your beliefs on another person. In fact, having different opinions can be healthy and interesting. You may want to think in terms of embracing your differences – seeing them as positives rather than potential sources of friction. After all, the world would be a boring place if we all agreed 100% of the time!
  • Are they right? 
    It isn’t always easy to accept that someone might have things closer to the mark than we do, but it’s a sign of true maturity to consider the possibility. If you were weighing up the disagreement objectively, whose side would you be on? Sometimes, coming up against ideas that are different to our own can be an opportunity to learn, if we’re not too proud to take it!
  • Know your boundaries: 
    That said, it is important to figure out how different is too different. If you feel like the things that you and your partner are disagreeing on are fundamentally important to you – and that you aren’t likely to be able to find a compromise – it might be worth thinking about how this could affect things in future. After all, if they really are deal breakers, it’s likely they’ll come up again.

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We have the highest divorce rates of any sector, at 68.8%. The main reason for divorce or separation within our industry is excess travel followed by infidelity, and then caring for a sick parent, child, or partner. Affairs rarely have just one cause, and they don't always happen because of unhappiness or dissatisfaction in a relationship. It's vital that you both understand the real reasons why it happened.

If your partner had an affair, to come to terms with why it happened you will need to talk about their vulnerability to an affair - what was happening in your lives and in your relationship before they first came into contact with the other person, how might your partner's lifestyle have contributed (e.g. working away from home), what beliefs did you both hold about fidelity? Part of the process is being honest with yourself about your own vulnerabilities to an affair and why these might have been different to your partner's. This can be very painful and can take a lot of time, but unless you know what went wrong, you won't be able to change things in the future. Be patient. It takes time to rebuild trust that has been broken.

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What helps to mend a relationship?
  • The unfaithful partner must end the affair, once and for all.
  • They should be transparent about their future actions, share information about schedules and movements and disclose any interactions with the other person.
  • It might be necessary for a short time to share privacy controls such as passwords since it could be impossible for a deceived partner to trust without this level of openness.
  • Talk it through. 
  • The whole process may take months or longer. Often, the unfaithful partner wants to draw a line under events and not talk about them, or a faithful partner is reluctant to ask questions in case the answers are too painful. It's important to tell the story of the affair and why it happened.
  • Set a time limit for your discussions, and don't talk when you're tired. You could end up talking for hours and hours and go around in circles.
  • Agree to discuss future challenges too, don't just hope they'll go away. Talk about the future threats to your fidelity, like crushes or friendships that could cross the line.
  • Commit to a new future together. Both of you must do this and mean it.
  • Find time for each other, take an interest in each other’s lives and feelings, and resolve to be honest with each other in future, even if it means taking a risk.
  • It can be hard to restore a sexual relationship after an affair. Be patient with each other and talk about any emotional barriers. Give some thought to how a satisfying sexual relationship can alleviate some of the pain, but remember patience and honesty are the key.
  • Consider some relationship counselling.
Long term effects of an affair:
Only you can decide what to do after an affair, and whatever you decide will not be easy. Many affairs causes havoc in a relationship that is already dogged with problems, but they can provide an opportunity for positive change too. Unfaithful partners can work out how their former behaviour led to giving themselves permission to have an affair - and resolve to change. As a couple, you can make changes to your lifestyle and ensure it supports a faithful relationship in the future.

Make sure that you're open and honest with each other about your wants and needs. A crisis like this can also make you confront complex issues like gender politics and beliefs you might have both absorbed from society about faithful relationships. It is possible to create a new, stronger relationship in the wake of an affair, but the cost can be very high. An affair can also have destructive effects on your family. Children, in-laws, and friends may all find themselves caught up in events, and perhaps having to take sides. Permanent barriers can be created. Even so, an affair does not always mean the end of your relationship. With hard work, commitment, and patience, it may be possible to come through this crisis changed, but also stronger. The key message is to understand why the affair happened, rather than run away from the reasons. Whether you stay together or part, it's crucial to gather some insights into what went wrong. Do this, and if you remain together you will have a deeper understanding of yourselves. If you part, you will know that you had the courage to face the truth and will be better prepared for future relationships.

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It’s no great secret that communication is an important part of any relationship. What’s less understood is how to be a good communicator and just how beneficial building good communication habits into your relationship can be. And while there’s no single, simple solution for making this happen, there are a few key communication tips that can help both with difficult conversations and good communication on a day-to-day basis.
1. Don’t sweep things under the carpet:
Our first tip on talking is simply: try it! It can be really tempting to avoid difficult conversations to keep the peace or because you’re worried, you’re being silly. But the risk with this is that you keep putting off talking about things until you finally snap because the tension has been building over time. It’s better to get little things out in the open and do this regularly rather than having big rows that risk causing damage to your relationship. Of course, that doesn’t mean taking your partner to task over every little thing – it will always be important to be able to let the little stuff go – but if there are things that seem to keep bothering you over and over, it’s better to discuss them than keep them bottled up.

This video looks at what it's like when couples don't tell each other what they're thinking:

2. Don’t put them on the defensive:
It’s so easy to react to a disagreement with your partner by telling them everything you think they’re doing wrong and making lots of accusations. But the problem with this is that it’s only likely to put them on the defensive. In counselling, we often recommend that people try using ‘I’ statements. This means talking primarily in terms of how things have made you feel. Although it can feel a little clinical, you might like to try saying: ‘when you do x, it makes me feel y’. Putting the focus on yourself like this means taking responsibility for your feelings and is much less likely to make your partner feel attacked. It’s a simple change, but one that can really shift the tone of a disagreement and make it less likely to spin out of control.
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3. Pick a place and time:
It’s not just about what you say and how you say it, but also where and when. Sometimes, it’s useful to plan to have a discussion at a specific time and place. There are a few benefits to this. When you set time aside, it means you’re able to give the conversation your full attention and aren’t trying to fit it in before doing something else like going out or going to bed. If you were trying to have an important business meeting, you wouldn’t usually try to fit it in while walking down the corridor, so why do we so often do the same with our relationships? Also, changing location can mean changing your thinking. If you’ve been arguing a lot at home, you might associate the space with the same patterns. Going somewhere else, or even doing something else while you talk, such as driving or walking, can help shift you into a different mindset.
4. Make time to talk and listen:
We tend to assume that communication is all about making yourself heard, but this is only half of it. It’s also just as important that you’re hearing each other. Lots of the time when we’re having a discussion, we’re just waiting for our turn to talk. We’re hearing what they’re saying, but we’re concentrating our response: ‘that’s not true, that’s really annoying me’. This is understandable: no-one loves hearing something they disagree with. But to truly understand your partner’s perspective, you really must pay attention and take it in.

You may find it useful to use the following simple pattern: one person talks, the other listens and then paraphrases back what they said: ‘what it sounds like you’re saying is…’. And then switch. Again, it sounds a little clinical, but repeating back what your partner has said can be a powerful technique. It both shows them you’re trying to understand what’s they’re saying and actually makes it much easier to do this – just as it’s easier to memorize a fact by stating it out loud. This isn’t necessary about agreeing with each other. It’s about understanding one another so you can begin to move towards a solution. If you’re always bearing this in mind as a goal, then you’re much less likely to find yourself arguing.

5. Practice:
Our final tip is to remember that communication is a skill and it takes practice to get good at it. If you want to develop your ability to communicate as a couple, you’ll need to build positive habits into the way you talk and make a real effort to stick to them. Some days you’ll be better than others, and some days you won’t manage it at all. But if you persevere, you will find that, over time, your ability to say what’s on your mind and listen when your partner tells you what’s on theirs, does get better.
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Criticism – If you are unhappy with something in your relationship, by all means, express it, but instead of attacking with criticism, you can use a gentle start-up. Check out this video on how to diffuse arguments Diffusing Difficult Conversations with Love | Dr. Julie Gottmanour - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYIzzs6Gv9A
Blaming – A common behaviour in relationships that erodes connection and capacity for empathy. Brene Brown provides insight into the complexities of blame and how we shift the behaviour - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZWf2_2L2v8

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It’s a common anxiety for many parents – what to do if their child is being bullied. Many parents worry about the most appropriate way to react – whether they should take a proactive approach and speak to the bully’s parents or whether they should complain to the school. Finding out your child is being bullied can be an emotional experience: you may feel anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness or even a degree of fear.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, watch out for these signs:

  • Any bruises or marks
  • Missing or broken possessions, such as stationary or schoolbooks
  • Becoming quieter or more withdrawn
  • Eating less or more or changes in their sleeping patterns
  • Sudden changes in mood or behaviour
  • Signs of anxiety around going to school
  • A sudden drop in grades.

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How to talk to them about it:
If you do find out your child is being bullied, there can be a temptation to wade in and try to ‘fix’ the problem. This is understandable: you’re probably worried about them and want to rectify the situation as soon as possible. However, if you come on too strong, there’s a chance your child will clam up and resist telling you anything else. You can also risk escalating the bullying situation. It’s better to talk to your child about what’s happening and how they feel; and try to figure out a way forward together. What’s most important is they know they have your support and that they can trust you.
  • Listen to them:
    Don’t just prescribe solutions. Many children don’t tell their parents about bullying because they’re scared things will be taken out of their hands and made worse. Try to understand how they are making sense of what’s happening. Make suggestions rather than telling them what to do. The aim is to help and empower them to work out what they’d like to do about the situation.
  • Comfort them:
    Make time to talk regularly about how the bullying has made them feel. Bullying can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for a young person and can have a negative effect on their self-esteem. Talk to them about their emotions. Let them know there’s no shame in feeling hurt or upset. Spending time together doing anything that gives your young person a sense of achievement can help to boast their self-esteem.
  • Reassure them: 
    Many children worry they’ve brought the bullying on themselves. Let them know that bullying is unacceptable – and that none of this is their fault. Let them know that everyone is different and unique; this is something to be praised!
  • Don’t encourage them to hit or shout back: 
    There’s every chance this will make the problem worse and, if they’re already suffering from low self-esteem or anxiety, is likely to put them under more stress. Instead explore what options they feel they have that may help them to feel better or more in control of the situation.
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Working with the school:
Depending on how serious the bullying is, you may want to involve your son or daughter’s school. All schools are legally required to have an anti-bullying policy, which means they must have measures in place designed to stop bullying. You can request a copy of this if you don’t already have one.
Before approaching the school, you may find it useful to think about the following:
  • Get all the facts:
    Try to gather what has been happening and how: what the incident involved, who took part, when it happened, if anyone saw, whether it was a one-off or it’s been happening for a while and so on. The more you know about the bullying, the better you’ll be able to address it with the school.
  • Don’t arrive without an appointment:
    You may be feeling upset or aggravated, but don’t turn up unexpected. Call ahead and ask for some time to speak to your son or daughter’s teacher or Head of Year.
  • Go with a positive attitude:
    Although you may want to get things sorted as soon as possible, understand that sometimes addressing bullying can take a little time. Be prepared to cooperate with the school.

What if things don't get better?
Sometimes, bullying can be persistent, and it may take time for it to stop. Keep a diary of any further incidents, including details on what happened - and the effect on your child. Inform the school every time an incident happens and keep working with them to address the problem. Schools have a variety of options for dealing with bullying, from warnings to full time exclusions. Prolonged bullying can have negative emotional effects on a child. If you think they might need extra help, you may want to consider Children and Young People’s Counselling.

Online bullying:
Bullying that takes place on social media or via mobile phone is becoming more and more commonplace and can be even harder to know about as a parent. From the victim’s point of view, it can be an even more oppressive form of bullying, as it can continue at any time; meaning that there may be no release from the bullying. Children may know who’s bullying them – it can be an extension of real-life bullying – or they may not. Anonymity can sometimes increase the likelihood of bullying behaviour. You should approach online bullying as you would any other type – by working with your child and the school to make sure it stops. Kidscape has some really useful advice on cyberbullying, including how to report it.

It is important to note that online bullying can also affect adults and is even prevalent within professional organisations. Recent research shows there is a connection between COVID19 and an increase in Cyberbullying - both volume and severity. It was published just last week and conducted worldwide, covering dozens of countries and hundreds of organizations. 

Basic stats:
• 81% of professional support organizations reported an increase in Cyberbullying.
• 51.4% of organizations had to shut down or decrease activity, and couldn't help victims in the last few months.
• 9.7% had to shut down permanently due to the economic damage of the pandemic.
*statistics gathered externally by Rachel Parker.

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As parents we take care of our children to the best of our ability. Because we care, and show it in different ways, children learn to trust their parents. How can you build trust in your relationship with your teen? Children might not learn to trust their parents, especially if a parent makes promises they can’t keep and does not or cannot deliver and so ideally, the message to any parent needs to be “don’t make promises you can’t keep”

Sometimes, when a parent is not available when a child or teenager really needs them, they begin to think that can’t be relied upon or trusted. Mostly, there are enough times when a parent is there for them to balance this and parenting is about managing that balance. When teenagers start to take more responsibility for themselves, it is sometimes difficult to trust them to make decisions and to do the “right” thing. Interestingly, if we don’t let teenagers take responsibility for themselves, they are more likely to rebel. It’s hard to get it right. Trust is different from rules Rules are the boundaries you set within your family and with your teenager for their safety and your family standards. When teenagers try to begin to think like adults, they have to make decisions based on working out whether something is acceptable, safe and ok for them.

But teens don’t think like adults, they are:

  • More likely to be persuaded by peer pressure
  • Less likely to think about the future
  • More likely to be impulsive
  • Less likely to think about risks

So, they will need guidance and to have your say without preaching is important.

What you can do:
Try to encourage and invite discussion, without it sounding as though you are laying down yet more rules.

Try to use sentences that begin with:

  • “I wonder”
  • “Have you thought about”
  • “It might be a good idea if..”
  • “I find that”
  • “I worry about”

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Create trust by learning to listen, be ready to discuss without judging and sometimes make allowance for them getting it wrong. This means not saying “I told you so” but listening to what they have learned from their experiences. When trust is broken, or repeatedly broken, then closer monitoring or restriction of freedom is the only way you have as a parent to show that you care enough to hang on in there until some learning has taken place. Try to gradually give your teens opportunities for them to show you that they can be trusted and make encouraging remarks when all goes well. Trust is two way – the more trustworthy you are, the more trustworthy your teenager is likely to be.

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Here is a range of activities for you to do on your own, with a partner, or with your teenager. They’re short exercises that won’t take too much time and are a good starting point if you’re finding it hard to understand your son or daughter:

Think: What were you like as a teenager?

  • Write down all the things you can remember about being a teenager.
  • What did you look like? Get out some old photos if you have any.
  • What did you enjoy doing?
  • What music, films or TV did you enjoy?
  • What else was happening in the world at the time, look at old news stories to jog your memory?
  • Who were your friends and what were they like?
  • What was it like growing up at that time?
  • What are some of your best and worst moments? How did you cope?
  • Think about what's different and what's the same about life when you were growing up and what life is like for young people now. You can talk about this with your partner and son or daughter to see what they think too.

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Think: Can you see a pattern from your own teenage years in the first exercise?
The first step is to understand what's happening and think about the things we would like to change; but it can be difficult to ask others to change if we can’t see the benefits of changing ourselves. So, talk things through and think about how you can work together to make things better.

Think: What pressures do teenagers have?
See if you can write down all the pressures your teenager may be under. You might include things like school, friendships, exams, family changes and relationships. Share this with your young person and see if they agree. This is a good way of showing them that you are trying to understand what might be going on for them in their life. Ask if they could add anything.

Activity: Family Tree
Young people can be intrigued by how their family has developed over time. This can also be a way of exploring a change in the family or understanding relationships.

  • Get a large piece of paper and use colours, shapes, pictures, and your imagination.
  • Include grandparents and other important special people or pets if you want to.
  • Start by showing your immediate family members and draw lines to connect each generation.
  • You may want to keep adding to it and see how your family changes over time.
  • Young people can benefit from seeing themselves within a line of family members and can get insights into family members who they think they may be like.

Activity: Family Shield
Draw a ‘family shield’ and design your very own Coat of Arms.

Think about the following:

  • What are your hopes and aspirations? These may be as individuals or together.
  • What would your ‘motto’ be?
  • Write these on the shield and ask yourselves how you can work towards these.

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Although there is no “typical divorce” and no “magic formula” for ensuring positive child and family outcomes, and every child and family are unique, there are some general principles for successful co-parenting that apply to most, if not all, divorcing families:

  1. Be there for your children, both physically and emotionally:
    Quantity of time matters; quality relationships are not possible without sufficient routine time to develop and sustain those relationships. But although quantity of parental time is necessary for successful child outcomes, it is not sufficient: Children also need their parents to be emotionally present, engaged and attuned, taking an interest in all aspects of their lives and actively involved in their day-to-day routines.
  2. Talk with your children about the divorce:
    Above all, children need to know that they will not be abandoned, physically or emotionally, by either of their parents. Reassure them by first of all creating a safe environment for the discussion, and a safe way to express their feelings of shock and confusion, self-blame, fear, grief, anger, or guilt. Recognize that divorce is a long-term process for children, not a one-time event, and be prepared to have several such talks. If possible, talk with your children together as parents, reassuring them that you will cooperate in the future.

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  3. Let children be children:
    Don’t involve children in adult problems; rather, maintain continuity in their existing routines and relationships, and shelter them from the struggles that are properly the responsibility of their parents.
  4. Support the other parent’s role and relationship with your children:
    The idea is to maximize and optimize the time that your children can spend with each of their parents. It is extremely difficult for parents to be at their best when having to parent under duress, and when having to deal with a co-parent who is less than supportive of their role and relationship with their children. You can support each other as parents by keeping to the co-parenting schedule, remaining flexible in accommodating each other wherever possible, and moving from a place of conflict and antagonism toward that of cooperation as parents. A big part of this is to separate your previous hostilities as a couple from your ongoing co-parenting responsibilities.
  5. Speak about and act in a respectful manner toward the other parent, especially in front of your children: 
    Conveying an attitude of respect toward your co-parent is vital to children’s well-being, and shielding children from conflict is essential. There are few things more damaging to a child than witnessing conflict between parents, and ongoing conflict cuts to the heart of a child’s well-being, as children see themselves as essentially half their mother and half their father. Keep this at the forefront of all interactions between you and the other parent in front of the child.
  6. Wherever possible, maintain open communication channels with the other parent: 
    Open and regular communication is the key to cooperative parenting. If this is not possible, then phone calls, emails, or stockpiling concerns to be discussed at periodic “co-parenting meetings,” with or without a third-party present, are good alternatives. If you are unable to communicate without resorting to conflict and recriminations, a parallel parenting plan in which co-parenting arrangements are spelled out in a detailed agreed-upon schedule, is another effective option.
  7. Maintain your child’s community of support: 
    Essential to children is the security of maintaining existing relationships and routines with extended family members, friends, school, and other activities. This adds to children’s sense of stability, continuity, and predictability in their lives.
  8. Educate yourself about children’s needs, co-parenting options, and community resources: 
    Shared parenting offers parents an almost infinite variety of co-parenting scheduling possibilities commensurate with children’s ages and stages of development and can be tailor-made to children’s and families’ unique circumstances. There are a variety of web-, print-, and community-based resources (including divorce education programs) for parents to access.
  9. Seek out formal and informal sources of co-parenting support: 
    Family members, friends, and informal support networks are vital in helping parents work through difficult feelings, including anger management, and the multiple challenges and transitions attendant to divorce. More formal sources of support also span a wide array: therapeutic family mediation focused on the development and implementation of co-parenting plans, divorce coaching, and parenting coordination in high conflict situations.
  10. Maintain your own health and well-being as a priority: 
    Taking care of yourself is essential not only for your own but for your children’s well-being. Your children depend on you, and you owe it to them to prioritize your own physical, emotional, and mental health. For parents struggling in the face of systemic barriers to co-parenting never, never give up. Above all, it is critical to keep in mind that the two most important factors in children’s successful adjustment to the consequences of divorce are the maintenance of a meaningful routine relationship with each of their parents, and to be shielded from ongoing parental conflict. The challenge for parents is to develop and maintain a co-parenting relationship that ensures that both essential needs are met.

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Aug 21 Case studies

The electrical and energy sector has one of the highest industry divorce rates. 69.8% of marriages within our industry end in divorce with the leading causes being long hours, excessive travel, and infidelity. Relationship breakdown can be a huge source of stress and can understandably cause emotional turmoil for those involved. The Electrical Industries Charity want to do everything they can to support our sector members through life’s rough patches. A joyful but trying time for many couples is the arrival of a new baby. Richard, an electrical distributor employee, has worked within the sector for 12 years and initially approached the charity because his wife, Karen, was struggling after the birth of their son Harry.

Harry had been born 7 months ago and Karen has struggled since his birth with ongoing post-natal depression. Richard spoke to the charity welfare team seeking therapeutic support for Karen but in his discussion with the charity case worker he disclosed the impact Karen’s depression was having on their relationship.

Karen and Richard’s communication was completely absent. Karen was increasingly tearful, lacked in energy and constantly felt low – all symptoms of post-natal depression. Richard tried his best to understand and accommodate Karen but whenever they did try to discuss counselling support Karen would shut down and retreat to their bedroom. Richard felt it impossible to communicate with Karen and was in fear of upsetting her and worsening her depression. Richard felt he was forced to bottle his feelings and their relationship had suffered dramatically. Richard would readily snap at Karen and he was constantly irritated. Richard described their marriage as two people who just exist alongside each other. It was clear to the Electrical Industries Charity Karen and Richard needed marriage counselling to focus on their communication issues. The charity felt it important Karen undertake individual sessions as well as a couple’s session with Richard fortnightly. Karen could then focus on coping with her post-natal depression and her marriage in a judgement free safe space.

Karen undertook six individual sessions of interpersonal therapy and partook in a guided self-help course which the charity found online. The charity also put Karen in touch with the Association for Post Natal Illness so she could find support from other new parents. Richard and Karen also attended six relationship counselling sessions which worked on their communication strategies and armed them with tools to improve and repair their relationship. This included safe time out spaces where they could have time away to decompress.

Karen and Richard’s relationship is not perfect. They continue to work on their marriage and still go for monthly self-funded sessions with a relationship counsellor. Since a combination of self-help, support group and therapy Karen’s post-natal depression is improving. Karen and Harry have built a better bond which is helping her and Richard’s relationship. Although there is still work to be done with their marriage both Karen and Richard understand how to communicate effectively with one and other and are looking forward to a brighter future.

If you need support within your relationship and would like guidance or assistance please contact the Electrical Industries Charity on 0800 652 1618
or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Aug 21 Case studies2

A massive part of our daily lives is our families. For a lot of us we see and/or speak to at least one member of our family every day and when we have disputes or there is tensions within our family units it can cause untold amounts of stress and upset. Sarah, an electrical wholesale employee of 15 years, contacted the Electrical Industries Charity when she began to suffer with anxiety and stress. Sarah was aware of the Electrical Industries Charity through her company’s Employee Assistance Programme and understood she was eligible for free and confidential assistance using the charity Employee and Family Programme.

Sarah spoke with the Charity welfare team about her 24-year-old estranged son who she had been having difficulties with for almost a decade. Teenage years can be very difficult for parent/child relationships and Sarah and her son’s relationship was very strained. Sarah’s son’s behaviour was extremely erratic, and he was often verbally abusive towards his mother. Sarah’s son developed a marijuana addiction and he spent hours sitting in parks and alley ways smoking before returning home. Sarah tried to improve relations with her son but when he turned 19, she felt she had no choice but to ask him to leave the home.

Sarah felt a huge amount of guilt asking her son to leave and she began to suffer with extreme anxiety attacks. Often Sarah would have panic attacks and during the night she would be unable to sleep for she was crippled with anxiety. Sarah reached out to her son to build bridges between them and for a short while things improved. Sarah remarried and contact with her son, although sporadic, was amicable. Sarah’s son then began to ask Sarah for large sums of money and threatened to cut all contact with her when she refused. Sarah’s anxiety and panic attacks returned, and she was now struggling to sleep, eat and work.

The Electrical Industries Charity discussed with Sarah her feelings of anxiety and it appeared a lot of her stress was linked to her feelings of guilt. Sarah found it difficult to accept her and her son’s relationship may never mend and felt she had failed as mother. The Charity case worker referred Sarah to family and relationship counsellor who helped her to unpack some of the guilt she was feeling and devise helpful coping strategies. Sarah’s counselling sessions also helped her to understand her son more, how to broach contact with him and how to cope if he did not want to be in contact with her. Since their last contact Sarah’s son, although still struggling with a marijuana addiction, was working locally and shared a flat with a long-term partner.

Sarah undertook four sessions of therapy and felt encouraged by her dissipating feelings of anxiety. Sarah reached out to her son and they were able to go on a walk together locally. Sarah and her son agreed to have more open channels of communication and Sarah’s son spoke of his want to cut down on his marijuana intake. Sarah is feeling optimistic about her and son’s relationship and wants to continue to work on their communication.

If you need help with stress, anxiety or family relationship breakdown then please contact the Electrical Industries Charity for free and confidential support 365 days a year. 0800 652 1618 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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August 2020 Useful Links
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