In the turmoil and confusion of separation, it is hardly surprising that the parents' own fears and desires may sometimes override a more reasoned approach to their children's needs.
Children are upset by the fact that their parents have separated, and the time they're most likely to show it is at the time of access. But that is no reason for stopping it. Parents must accept that their children will be upset for a while but it does get less with time, and things do eventually settle down.
Suspending access can be extremely harmful to children and the pain caused may cause the child to resist resuming access. It's as if the child is saying "You abandoned me and that was so painful that I refuse to see you again because I don't want to feel the pain of losing you again".
Children who are in touch with both parents after divorce - even if the parents are at each other's throats - have fewer emotional and educational problems than those who have lost contact with one parent. Those who's divorced parents are able to cooperate have fewest problems of all.
Children need to continue a relationship with both their divorced parents. It is always worth trying to ensure that children do not lose contact with either of their parents after divorce.
The most crucial factor influencing a good readjustment was a stable loving relationship with both parents.. leaving regular dependable visiting patterns that the parent with custody encouraged. Frequent, flexible visiting patterns remained important to the majority of children.
Children under 6 were confused and frightened, terrified that since they had lost one parent they might lose the other.
Children aged 6-9 were sad and rejected, and though they often felt angry with their parents - for leaving or driving the other parents away - they often afraid to express it and took it out on their brothers and sisters instead.
Disputes that arise at the time of separation have profound and long term consequences for the children and the adults concerned.