Does mediation help minimize the emotional damage children can experience when sharing in their parents’ divorce? You bet it does.

America has the highest divorce rate in the world, and it continues to climb. More than half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. The rest end in annulment, or by death to one or both of the spouses. Not much of a choice. Divorce is the preferred method by most.

People who divorce experience many deep emotions that are associated with grief and loss. They suffer from anger, unhappiness, worry and wonder, among others, and these negative emotions can actualize during different stages at different times of the divorce.

Children of divorcing parents can be affected more than they might let on. A divorce of parents can present itself as a crisis in a young child’s life. It can be a jolt in routine and a time of unfamiliar transition and the child could have a difficult time adjusting to that new life’s situation.

Children can suffer serious consequences from their parents’ divorce, including behavioral, psychological, and emotional problems. Research has proven, for instance, that children with divorced parents are twice as likely to seek mental health treatment. They are more susceptible to depression and twice as likely to have behavior management issues. They will act out. Children who have experienced their parents’ divorce are also at risk for increased stress and tension factors.

When children are involved in divorces, they find themselves at risk for a kaleidoscope of emotional issues which can be traced directly back to their parents who are having problems dealing with their own emotions. The most common and complicated emotion experienced by both child and parent during divorce is anger. Ph.D, researcher and mediator Robert E. Emery calls this “a common reaction to grief and loss.” The theory is that if parents aren’t processing their emotions in a positive way, they are negatively affecting their children. They are causing more conflict and tension in the transition for the children who can become confused and upset about what is happening as their lives spin out of control around them. They have been overwhelmed by their unfamiliar circumstances and negative emotional experiences.

Experts write that the stress associated with divorce causes mood swings and triggers anxiety in children. In his book, The truth about children and divorce, Dr. Emery writes about divorce posing a challenging transition for the children to adjust to. But there is a way to avoid a lot of it. In response to concerns over the psychological well-being of children of divorce, researchers have also concluded that after being involved in divorce mediation, parents suffered from decreased levels of distress and anxiety, which directly benefited their children.

MEDIATION BENEFITS CHILDREN FOLLOWING THEIR PARENTS’ DIVORCE

Studies have proven that families can benefit by promoting the positive involvement of both parents in a child’s life following a divorce. This is where a good divorce mediator comes in, someone who can positively involve the parents and children in the divorce mediation process and beyond, to help communicate with each other re managing family conflict.

Research by J.B. Kelly shows that mediation can be helpful in resolving emotional and agreement issues in family conflict, which could have a positive impact on children’s adjustment to the divorce. A good mediator can help both parents and children in learning better skills to manage their emotional problems as they learn to deal with their new life situations.

The mediator can help you realize that as you proceed through divorce you will become keenly aware of and concerned about the affects your divorce is having on your children. You will come to understand that the most damaging aspect to your children is when they personally witness the exchange of hostilities and conflict between you and your spouse.

Research has proven that children who live with parental conflict have adjustment problems as they get older, which materializes in their lives whether or not their parents actually go through with the divorce. The bottom line is that it’s not the divorce itself that does harm to the children, it’s the parental conflict you play out in front of them. Under no circumstances should you argue or demean your spouse in front of your children.

FAMILY LAW MEDIATION IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN OF DIVORCING PARENTS

Brianna L. Nelson, BSW, LSW, presented a Clinical Research Paper entitled, Divorce Mediation and its Impact on Children, to the faculty of the School of Social Work at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. In her paper Nelson concluded that divorce mediation can be helpful and beneficial for families when resolving emotional and familial conflict, which could decrease the negative effects divorce can have on children. She came to the same conclusion many experts had reached before her. Family law mediation is good for children of divorcing parents. “Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process that helps the parties in conflict come to agreements without the use of the court system and expensive legal services,” Nelson writes. The mediator will be the one to facilitate the negotiation process.

https://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1242&context=msw_papers

Family law mediation is most common in divorce and child custody disputes, and to assist in the decision-making process regarding finances, parenting, and the division of personal and real property. The key advantages of mediation over litigation is in avoiding the stress, expense, and family divisiveness. Mediation should be less time-consuming and a more humane way to deal with your conflict resolution. Mediation focuses on resolving the conflict, where litigation focuses on stopping it.

As of 2018, children are becoming more involved in the family law mediation process. It provides an opportunity for the children to be heard, which is important for they are the ones most negatively affected by separation and divorce. Divorce mediation provides an opportunity to assess a child’s basic awareness of their parents’ divorce, and to help them resolve their issues in dealing with it.

Just like communication between spouses, mediation can increase communication between child and parent and it can improve the co-parental relationship, which all benefits your children. That’s why if you divorce, and you can communicate rationally with your spouse, you’re going to want to find an experienced specialist in family law who can mediate your divorce related issues. You’ll want to find a divorce mediator who can educate you about common concerns you and your spouse share regarding your children. Find a mediator with exceptional communication skills who can help you brainstorm your issues and resolve them. Find someone who is sensitive to your family members’ feelings of grief and loss. Remember, the whole purpose is for you and your children to be able to utilize the feedback received through mediation to help your family build a healthier and happier tomorrow.

 

Advertisements