The Effect of Divorce on Children

Although fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, dealing with divorce issues is never easy. For most couples, one of the greatest concerns during this life transition is the welfare of their children. Parents want to minimize the impact of the divorce on their family. Today, there are divorce options that try to minimize conflict and maximize cooperation during the process.

As a result, couples can co-parent in a positive way after the divorce. Many couples choose to mediate their divorce. The mediators assist the clients in considering options and creating solutions that work for the family. Cooperation is part of a mediated divorce process. Mediation is not solely for individuals who have little conflict. A good mediator can work with a couple to help resolve conflicts and emotional issues that are a part of most divorces. The couple can make decisions with the best interests of their children in mind. Mediation is typically the least expensive of the divorce options and it allows clients to maintain their privacy.

Collaborative divorce is another cooperative divorce method that has been in Connecticut for about two years. A team of professionals addresses the legal, emotional and financial issues of divorce. It is more appropriate for people who want the support of their own attorney and divorce coach to deal with issues as they occur. In mediation and in collaborative divorce, the professionals agree that they will not be involved in litigation if the couple elects that option.

Even when parents try their best to protect their loved ones during the divorce, there can be a difficult transition period for the children. Some children demonstrate regressive behaviors while others withdraw from their family and friends. In many cases, children do not know how to express their concerns and worry about upsetting their parents. Some parents are uncomfortable speaking to their children at this time because they are having difficulties managing their own emotions. In some cases, sessions with a family therapist can help you and your child deal with these issues.

A family therapist can work with the child to teach him or her to identify emotions and to express them in an appropriate manner. Many children see their role as central to the divorce and the therapist can challenge that thinking and help the children realize that divorce is an issue between the parents. Some children have difficulties navigating the changes they are experiencing in their day to day lives. Many therapists use play therapy to help children express themselves and address their fears.

The therapist can give guidance to parents, as well, during this transitional time. Many parents are concerned about the best way to tell the children about the impending divorce. They do not know how to address the issue of fault in the marriage. They want to answer their child’s questions but not give too much information. A family therapist can give parents guidance in this area.

Although divorce is a stressful time for parents and children, most families are able to work their way through this period and return to normal childhood routines. With parental cooperation and professional help, if needed, the children will see themselves as having TWO loving homes.

About Paula Levy

Marriage Counseling, Couples & Family Therapy & Divorce Mediation in Westport and Ridgefield

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