When I am supporting separating parents to make a parenting plan for their children they are understandably overwhelmed by the need for reassurance that the decision for them to separate will not damage their children. The message I can give those parents with confidence (based upon enormous amounts of research) is as follows:
Children can and do travel successfully through major life transitions especially when they know their parents love them and are doing their best to steer the course. The key to a good transition for children is where parents can manage to minimise the conflict that is an inevitable part of their un-coupling.
Children can of course feel both incredibly bewildered and enormously upset about a message delivered by their parents that they are to separate. They can struggle with the change that inevitably will come their way but they can and do reach a stage when they realise they have found a new kind of normal family life.
Family mediation can play an enormously valuable role to help separating parents to decide upon the detail of their operation manual for their children.